Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu requested yesterday that the Turkish Parliament’s Human Rights Committee investigate claims of mistreatment and torture in Elazığ T-Type Prison, the Duvar news website reported.
Gergerlioğlu said 34-year-old Kurdish prisoner İbrahim Temel had told his family that he was being mistreated in prison. During visitation Temel showed his family the bruises on his body and asked them to save him.
Temel’s sister, Müzeyyen Temel, said she went to visit her brother in prison and saw he had a black eye. Temel told his sister he was threatened by prison guards and was subjected to beating and death threats.
According to Temel he was also the target of racist insults and called a Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist. The PKK has been waging an insurgency against Turkey’s security forces since the ’80s in a campaign that has claimed the lives of some 40,000 people. The group is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the US.
Müzeyyen Temel said her brother was put in a solitary cell and that a guard would come by and ask him why he had not yet killed himself. “He was told that if he did not kill himself, they would kill him,” she said. “When a guard overheard him telling me all this, they dragged him away to take him back to his cell. At that point he turned around and told me to file a complaint and make his ordeals heard by the authorities.”
There has been a worrying increase in prison suicides. Vedat Erkmen died on December 19 after allegedly taking his own life in a solitary cell. His family has expressed their doubts, however, and said their son was not someone who would kill himself.
Another Kurdish inmate, Garibe Gezer, was found dead in her cell on December 9. The prison administration claimed she hung herself in her cell where she was incarcerated alone.
Gezer had earlier told her sister that she was put in a padded cell where she was stripped in front of male guards, beaten, sexually harassed and left without medical treatment.
Gezer had attempted suicide before but was put to a solitary cell despite that.
Veysel Işık, a 30-year-old inmate in a prison in Balıkesir province attempted suicide twice in one month due to a breakdown caused allegedly by mistreatment in prison.
Temel was recently transferred to a prison in western Izmir province, but according to the family the mistreatment continued there. Temel’s family lives in Diyarbakir, more than 1.400 kilometers from Izmir, and requested that he be transferred to a prison closer to home so they can visit him and be sure of his well-being.
According to a report by the UN special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, on his mission to Turkey from November 27 to December 2, 2016, “torture and other forms of ill-treatment were widespread” in Turkey. “[T]here seemed to be a serious disconnect between declared government policy and its implementation in practice,” the special rapporteur noted.
The report found there were numerous consistent allegations received by the special rapporteur in the immediate aftermath of a failed coup in 2016 and that torture and other forms of ill-treatment were widespread.
The special rapporteur heard persistent reports of severe beatings, punches and kicking, blows with objects, falaka, threats and verbal abuse, being forced to strip naked, rape with objects and other sexual violence or threats thereof, sleep deprivation, stress positions and extended blindfolding and/or handcuffing for several days, according to the report.