At least 25 inmates died in 3 months in Turkish prisons, rights association reports

According to two separate reports released by the Human Rights Association’s (İHD) Ankara and İstanbul branches focusing on prisons in various cities in Turkey, at least 25 inmates died in Turkish penal facilities in July, August and September of this year.

The reports were prepared based on petitions received by the İHD from inmates or their lawyers, the visits of lawyers to prisons, letters from the inmates themselves and information obtained from interviews with the families of prisoners.

The association received 132 petitions from 48 prisons around the country.

According to the reports, 10 prisoners died of serious illness and seven died by suicide, and in total at least 25 inmates died within three months in Turkish prisons.

The reports also state that inmates in many Turkish prisons are subjected to violence, insult, mistreatment and rights violations, that sick prisoners cannot access proper medical treatment and that their ability to communication with families and lawyers and receive information is hampered.

The recommendation section at the end of the two reports suggests eliminating threats to the psychological and physical integrity of prisoners and developing humane practices to prevent suicides in prisons.

In addition, both reports suggest that sick prisoners be referred to the hospital before their health detoriates to a critical level, that they receive appropriate treatment, that their health be monitored by professionals and that independent health care providers be allowed to access and inspect prisons to obtain more reliable data.

According to the current data of the Directorate General of Prisons and Houses of Detention (CTE), there are a total of 326,960 inmates in Turkish prisons, of whom 283,561 are serving time and 43,399 are jailed pending trial. Of these 311,322 are men, 13,190 are women and 2,448 are minors.

After an abortive putsch in 2016, ill-treatment and torture became widespread and systematic in Turkish detention centers. Lack of condemnation from higher officials and a readiness to cover up allegations rather than investigate them have resulted in widespread impunity for the security forces.

An annual report by Amnesty International (AI) on the state of human rights in the world has revealed that serious and credible allegations of torture and other ill-treatment were made in Turkey last year.

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