Inmates in Turkish prisons complain of lack of heating and inadequate amount of food

Amid an economic downturn inmates in Turkish prisons have complained that new austerity measures introduced by the government in June have resulted in a lack of heating and an inadequate amount of food, Bold Medya reported.

One inmate in a prison in Elazığ province wrote a letter to journalist Said Sefa saying they were not provided with heating despite the cold weather. Sefa shared details from the letter on Twitter, adding that inmates were also not provided with enough food.

“What are the authorities trying to do?” he asked. “We need to make the public understand that inmates are being deprived and left to die.”

According to the austerity measures, state institutions and organizations were directed to limit expenses, especially for energy used for heating and electricity. Although the measures do not include limiting food and other basic necessities in prisons, many people have complained of such restrictions in prisons becoming commonplace.

Several other people commented beneath Sefa’s post that many prisons had imposed such restrictions. One person said a prison in southern Mersin province did not provide warm water and that inmates had to take cold showers.

Another person said prisoners were struggling with similar restrictions in prisons in Çanakkale, where food was limited.

Complaints of a lack of heating, warm water and even extra blankets have been emerging since the start of winter.

Prisoners have complained that the heating system in Istanbul’s Silivri Prison, notorious for its large number of political prisoners, has not been working despite extremely cold temperatures affecting the city.

An ailing 84-year-old man serving his sentence in Mersin province also said his heating was not turned on and that he was given warm drinks to keep him warmer.

Prison conditions in Turkey have been the subject of much criticism. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in April posed a series of questions to the Turkish government about abysmal conditions in Turkish prisons.

The questions concerned complaints about overcrowding, unsanitary conditions and lack of access to open air areas as well as what social, cultural and sports activities the inmates are allowed to participate in.

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