Increasing number of inmates filing complaints of right violations in Turkish prisons, says TIHEK report

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An increasing number of inmates have been filing complaints of rights violations and mistreatment in Turkish prisons, the Aktif Haber news website reported, citing the Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey (TIHEK).

According to TIHEK prisons have been using disciplinary punishments against inmates for even the smallest of infractions. Kilis L-type prison in southeastern Turkey has imposed 244 disciplinary punishments over the last year, including putting inmates in solitary cells, prohibiting contact with families and restricting visitors.

Inmates who receive such punishments face the risk of their parole being postponed.

Six inmates in the same prison filed complaints against three staff members and the prison administration alleging mistreatment.

In the Türkoğlu L-type prison in southern Turkey inmates made similar allegations and filed seven complaints against the prison in the first nine months of this year. The complaints involved an inadequate amount of food and restrictions placed on visitation days.

They also said there was one psychologist who took care of all inmates, which was insufficient considering 70 inmates were diagnosed with serious psychological problems and three had died by suicide since 2019.

In Bitlis Prison inmates said they were given medicine that had expired and filthy bed linen. Furthermore, inmates’ were prevented from using warm water.

TIHEK was established in 2016 by the Turkish government to monitor human rights violations, prevent torture and mistreatment and ensure the right to equality of all members of society. However, it has been harshly criticized for failing to fulfill its mandate of investigating allegations made by prisoners.

Former TIHEK chairman Süleyman Arslan was slammed by activists for saying minors at the age of 15 were entitled to get married. The organization also sparked outrage in 2019 for targeting the LGBTQ+ community during a symposium titled “The Protection of Family.” During the symposium a speaker said homosexual relationships threatened Turkish family values and that such relationships should be banned.

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