Inmates in a prison in central Turkey on 78th day of hunger strike: report

An undisclosed number of inmates in a prison in the central Turkish province of Konya have been on a hunger strike for 78 days to protest the violation of their rights while incarcerated, according to the Bianet news website, citing a report on a visit by rights groups to the prison.

The Lawyers for Freedom Association (ÖHD), the Human Rights Association (İHD) and the Çukurova Association for the Support of Families of Prisoners and Convicts (Çukurova TUAY-DER) released a report on their visit to the prison and meetings with inmates on November 11.

According to the report, prisoners have been strip-searched, constantly mistreated by some guards, given stale food and put in cells where they are not allowed to interact with other inmates.

Prisoners who refused to be strip-searched received a one-month ban on family visits, and they were not allowed to have any phone calls, either, during that time period, the report stated.

The inmates also said the most serious rights violations in the prison are experienced by sick prisoners and that even disabled prisoners are kept in solitary cells under poor conditions.

The prisoners stated that they are not allowed to have newspapers, magazines or books and that the daily supply of water is insufficient to meet their daily needs.

Requests by families of the inmates to meet with the relevant prison authorities to discuss the situation of their relatives were repeatedly denied.

The names and the exact number of prisoners were not revealed in the report.

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 last year.

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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