İHD Co-Chair Keskin: UN’s WHO should investigate Turkish prisons

The Human Rights Association (IHD) Co-chair Eren Keskin has called the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO) to investigate Turkish prisons to assess the situation of the sick prisoners.

Turkish Justice Ministry has announced the number of chronically ill prisoners and those in severe health conditions in Tukish prisons as 387. The ministry has also announced that 114 of these sick prisoners have cancer.

Talking to a pro-Kurdish news agency İHD’s Keskin has underlined that the health of sick prisoners deteriorated every day. Keskin said: “We as the Human Rights Association has issued calls constantly. But this critical issue needs to be addressed by the UN World Health Organization. There are international conventions that Turkey has signed. However, Turkey has not been complying with them. The international audits are also insufficient. Again, I call on the international organizations to fulfill their duties as soon as possible.”

According to IHD Co-chair Keskin, the main problem for the sick prisoners is the ill-intentioned approaches of the Forensic Medicine Institute which did not issue reports to state that the heavily sick prisoners are unfit for imprisonment.

FORENSIC MEDICINE INSTITUTIONS ARE NOT INDEPENDENT

Keskin said that, “The Forensic Medicine is an official institution and so it is not independent. It should be independent. That is why we have argued for years that independent medical institutions and independent doctors must be authorized for documenting torture and assessing the situation of sick prisoners. That is the method in democratic countries. However, Turkish government resists to not correct this mistake. So, the Forensic Medicine Institution continues to issue biased reports.”

Stating that there are no appropriate conditions for treatment for sick prisoners especially in Type R Prisons that have been built recently, İHD’s Keskin added that, “While it is not possible to treat sick people without a fully equipped hospital, it is absolutely impossible for them to receive necessary treatment in prison conditions. I visited heavily sick prisoner Sibel Çapraz recently. She is kept in a single-person cell with the toilet inside the cell. Whereas, she should be in a sterilized environment. She sleeps in the same space with a toilet bowl. We are the lawyers who know the conditions there. None of the prisoners are in good conditions.”

Underlining the health situation of arrested co-Mayor of Mardin Ahmet Türk, İHD’s Keskin said that, “He is not in a comfortable situation. They are keeping him in prison by the political power. Ahmet Türk is 74 years old and he is a person with lots of illnesses. The judicial system has divorced itself completely from moral norms.”

TURKISH PRISONS ARE HIGHLY OVERCROWDED

On the other hand, according to official data, Turkey’s prisons are over capacitated with nearly 43,000 new arrests following the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. According to the information shared by officials on October 2016, there are nearly 195,000 prisoners in 372 prisons across Turkey which is four percent more than the maximum capacity.

In a penal reform announced mid-August, the government ruled on releases of 38,000 prisoners to free up spaces for newcomers. A month after Justice Ministry said the government will build 174 new prisons within the next five years and create space for as many as 100,182 people.

Amnesty International stated that it had collected credible evidence that detainees in Turkey are beaten, tortured and on some occasions raped in official and unofficial detention centers across the country, on July 24.

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