Inmates go on hunger strike to protest rights violations in prison in western Turkey

Six inmates in a prison in Turkey’s western province of Afyonkarahisar went on a hunger strike on Tuesday to protest rights violations in the prison, the Mezopotamya news agency reported.

On January 3 prisoners Habil Emen, Yusuf Birkan, Yusuf Erkek, Mehmet Emin Dal, Siraç Keskin and Cumali Yıldırım, who claimed to have been mistreated in Afyonkarahisar Prison, went on a hunger strike.

After a prison visit on Tuesday, the families of the prisoners stated, “Our children are being tortured in prison. The safety of our children is at risk. The prison administration said the prisoners’ demands would be met, but nothing has changed.”

Claims of mistreatment and psychological abuse have been reported in Afyonkarahisar Prison in recent years.

One man who wanted to remain anonymous said his father had recently been transferred to Afyonkarahisar and that during a recent visit had said prison authorities frequently threatened inmates and psychologically abused them.

In September 2021 the Turkish Constitutional Court ruled in favor of an applicant who claimed that he was tortured for 25 days during his detention at Afyonkarahisar police headquarters in 2016, ordering the Turkish government to pay TL 50,000 ($6,000) in non-pecuniary damages and to launch an investigation into the perpetrators.

After an abortive putsch in 2016, ill-treatment became widespread and systematic in Turkish detention centers. 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.

According to a report by the Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TİHV), a record number of people complained about police mistreatment in 2021, with 914 people appealing to the foundation.

An annual report by Amnesty International on the state of human rights in the world revealed that serious and credible allegations of torture and other ill-treatment were made in Turkey in 2021.

A report drafted by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu said there were 2,694 deaths and 3,145 incidents of torture or maltreatment in Turkey in 2021, with 925 of them taking place in prisons.

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