İHD’s Yoleri slams Turkish gov’t plans to force coup suspects to wear prison uniforms

Gülseren Yoleri, the head of İHD's İstanbul Branch

Gülseren Yoleri, a prominent human rights activist and the head of the Human Rights Association’s (İHD) İstanbul Barnch, has slammed Turkish government’s plans to force the suspects jailed for alleged coup attempt to wear special prison uniforms and reminded that İHD was founded on 17 July 1986 with the goal of stopping the torture and prison uniform policy imposed on prisoners in 1980 military coup period.

Yoleri gave an interview to pro-Kurdish media  and said that the struggle against prison uniforms is one of the reasons why İHD was founded at the first place. “A unified prisoner appearance policy for coup suspects will be a threat to all prisoners,” added she.

Turkish government officials has announced a plan to force the suspects jailed for alleged coup attempt to wear prison uniforms after a coup suspect appeared before court with a t-shirt that read “Hero.” The government members and Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan supported the move in response.

Yoleri, who has represented families of the disappeared persons and victims of abuse and torture by the police or soldiers for years, said that “If a prisoner is tortured, doesn’t matter who he/she is, all prisoners will be under threat of torture. If torture is used against one prisoner, it will be used against all the others. If the coup suspects are forced to wear the prison uniforms all other prisoners will be forced to wear it.”

Yoleri called for a struggle against prison uniforms plan and adding that “If the rule of law is eliminated all people will be effected. If you remain silent against an unlawful act because its against a certain group, you have to know that this unlawfulness will be extended to all social and political groups tomorrow. Therefore the government’s prison uniform plan is a threat to the society and we should resist against it.”

Yoleri has continued to say that “With statutory decrees, detention periods were extended and this way the government created an environment for torture. Now they take a step further, talking about prison uniform and decapitation of coup suspects. These all point to the evolution of a fascist regime.”

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said on Monday that Justice Ministry officials are working to design a special uniform for suspects who are allegedly linked with the faith-based Gülen movement and accused of attempting to stage a coup in July 2016 to wear during court hearings.

Speaking to reporters following a Cabinet meeting on Monday, Kurtulmuş said: “Our [Justice] Ministry is working on it. There is a high demand from the public. Court hearings are open to the public, so it is more appropriate to bring suspects before the court in uniforms.”

One of the suspects on trial for an alleged assassination attempt against President Erdoğan on the night of July 15 2016 was thrown out of the courtroom for wearing a T-shirt bearing the word “hero” because it caused tension between the parties during the hearing.

July 19, 2017

 

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