Halil Kasal, an inmate in Istanbul’s Silivri Prison who alerted his family of severe mistreatment at the penal facility, is being subjected to disciplinary punishment by the prison administration, the Mezopotamya news agency reported.
Kasal told his family that he had been punished for talking openly about the pressure and mistreatment inmates had faced in Silivri Prison. “These people [prison administration] have a lot of power. They beat and abuse us, and if we complain they have the authority to further punish us,” he said.
Kasal was put in a one-person cell and his telephone privileges were revoked. He was also not allowed to see his mother on visitation day.
According to Kasal, prison guards write reports on inmates and in many cases these are false reports. “They wrote a report and added statements I never made. How am I supposed to oppose the report? They use these reports as an excuse for disciplinary punishment,” he explained.
Kasal’s mother Beyza Çelik said her son had told her about the mistreatment, which she recorded on her phone and shared with the public. She said her son did not deserve to be punished in any way.
Çelik called on authorities to stop the pressure on inmates. “What was I supposed to do? Wait for my son to leave prison in a coffin? I want mistreatment in prisons to end!” she added.
Prison guards allegedly beat inmates Coşkun Ağaca, Abdülmenav Çetin, Halil Kasal, Tolga Okçu, Orhan Hacıoğlu, H. Masal, Ali, Serhan Yılmaz and Ferhat Yılmaz, on April 6. The guards reportedly stepped on the inmates heads with their boots and threatened to kill them.
The Human Rights Association (İHD) said there had been claims that two inmates had killed themselves a week after the incident and that they were able to confirm these claims. They demanded that the authorities investigate the deaths and allegations of mistreatment in Silivri Prison.
Kasal told his family during a telephone conversation that the guards continuously taunted them and told them they could provide them with ropes if inmates wanted to kill themselves. “One guard asked me if I had a rope and said I could easily hang myself,” Kasal told his family. “They make prison life unbearable for us, the cells are disgusting, there’s not enough food or beds. We don’t feel safe, and we’re always intimidated by the guards.”
Kasal also attempted to kill himself after the incident. He was placed in intensive care, and his family had been unable to get any updates on his condition.
The Directorate General of Prisons and Detention Houses issued a statement and said Kasal was well and healthy and currently in prison. They denied any sort of mistreatment had taken place.
However, images of one inmate, Ferhat Yilmaz, emerged showing him badly injured in a hospital bed. Yilmaz died of his injuries after being hospitalized on April 10.
Ill-treatment and torture have become widespread and systematic in Turkish detention centers and prisons. Lack of condemnation from higher officials and a readiness to cover up allegations rather than investigate them have resulted in widespread impunity for the security forces.