Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Gülistan Kılıç Koçyiğit in a parliamentary question addressing the Turkish Ministry of Justice asked if it was true that minors and adults were made to stay in the same wards in Istanbul’s Maltepe Prison, the Bianet news website reported.
Koçyiğit also asked whether authorities were aware of allegations of mistreatment of minors. “How many underage inmates are currently kept in Maltepe Prison?” asked Koçyiğit. “Is it true that some minors were subjected to mistreatment and have attempted suicide? Has the ministry visited the prison since these claims were made public?”
The Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD) confirmed that the underage inmates had been subject to beating by older inmates. After such incidents some of the inmates were moved back to the juvenile detention center but a number of minors were still confined with adults.
The ÖHD said they visited the prison and found that six underage inmates were made to stay with adults. They also found the prison wards were very crowded and that the minors were forced to sleep on mattresses on the floor.
According to the most recent report by the Diyarbakır Bar Association, as of December 2021 there were 1,977 minors in prison. Mistreatment increased in prisons, the report said, but claims of mistreatment were not investigated and the perpetrators were often not held accountable.
The report said minors were not spared as they were subjected to physical violence by both prison guards and other inmates. Administrators were found to be ineffective in preventing conflicts among their prison populations.