CHP: Turkish prisons turn into death chambers with 215 deaths per year

Three thousand 432 prisoners have lost their lives in Turkish prisons in last 16 years and 215 prisoners lose their lives per year according to Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Veli Ağbaba, who said “Turkish prisons turned into the death chambers in the term of ruling the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) governments.”

CHP’s Ağbaba asked in a parliamentary inquiry to learn the circumstances of the sick prisoners and convicts in Turkish jails where 215 people lose their lives per year. Ağbaba has demanded to initiate the necessary procedures for their recovery and to remove the bureaucratic obstacles.

CHP Deputy Chairman Veli Ağbaba

He stated in the question motion submitted to the Turkish Parliament that the problem of prisons became more and more complicated with the AKP government and the government did not intend to produce a serious policy for the solution in the present situation.

It is stated in the motion as follows: “There is not adequate number of doctors and specialists in prisons; In most of the prisons, prisoners are examined only 2 half days in a week; Some of the patient prisoners are not given their examination results and diagnosis reports despite their demands; The prisoners are not allowed to go to the infirmary and those who need periodic examinations are not conducted; Instead of applying a definitive treatment for the prisoners, temporary treatment is applied to reduce pain; Applications to delay the execution of prisoners who can not survive on their own due to illness are not accepted and the number of the sick prisoners has been increasing day by day because of the reasons mentioned above.”

Veli Ağbaba stated that the prisoners who has no vital activity except eating, drinking and breathing are not released. This depicts the prison policy of the current government dramatically. There are totally 1,025 sick prisoners, and 357 of them seriously ill. The Turkish Justice Ministry announced the number of prisoners as 171, whose applications for delaying the execution due to their serious illness have been accepted, however the number of the sick prisoners as 841, including 31 women. It seems the number of the sick prisoners reaches to a serious number as the rest of the prisoners and convicts who can’t have the report from Forensic Medicine Institution yet is taken into consideration.

In the inquiry motion, the number of convicts and prisoners who had lost their lives in prison without intervention in between 2000 and 2011 has mentioned as 2,024 as by basing on the figures given by Justice Ministry.

The motion has also stated that “286 prisoners in 2012, 265 prisoners in 2013, 312 prisoners in 2014, 373 prisoners in 2015 and 172 prisoners in 2016 lost their lives. The number of prisoners and convicts who lost their lives in prison for 16 years between 2000 and 2016 is 3,432. In Turkey prisons an average of 215 people lose their lives while under the protection of the state.”

Stating that the number of prisoners released in the last five years due to severe illness has become 832, Ağbaba said that “162 prisoner were discharged from prison in 2013, 130 in 2014, 282 in 2015, 224 in 2016 and 34 in 2017. Whatever the offense is, it has been adopted by the laws that detainees and prisoners, their health and life safety are under state security. The problems that arise in prisons threaten the lives of severely ill prisoners and convicts. Being ignorant of the issue, turning a deaf ear to requests mean leaving ill prisoners in prison to death.”

At least 22,000 inmates are forced to sleep on the floor as the prison population has exceeded 229,000 for the first time in Turkey’s history. According to the figures provided by the Justice Ministry, 229,790 people are in prisons with a total capacity of 207,339. Only 141,802 out of the 229,790 have been convicted of a crime. Another report in August stated that the total prison population had exceeded 224,000 while prison capacity is 202,000.

Turkey has a total of 384 prisons. In August, 2016, Turkey released 38,000 convicts to make room for victims of an ongoing purge launched following a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, in overcrowded jails.

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