Inmates suffering from COVID-19 unable to see doctor in Aksaray prison: report

(Mezopotamya news agency)

Ahmet Göksu, who is jailed in Turkey’s central province of Aksaray, has told his family that inmates suffering from COVID-19 cannot access proper healthcare and are not taken to the hospital, the Mezopotamya news agency reported.

According to Göksu, there are critically ill prisoners among those who have contracted the virus in prison.

The rapidly spreading COVID-19 had presented greater concerns in Turkey’s prisons, which were already notorious for human rights abuses, overcrowding and unsanitary conditions before the pandemic.

The purge of thousands of dissidents in the aftermath of a coup attempt in July 2016 has filled Turkey’s prisons, which today are overcrowded with tens of thousands of political prisoners.

The Turkish parliament passed an early parole law in April 2020 aimed at reducing the inmate population of the country’s overcrowded prisons due to the coronavirus pandemic. Yet, the legislation excluded political prisoners, including opposition politicians, journalists, lawyers, academics and human rights defenders convicted under the country’s controversial counterterrorism laws.

According to Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a human rights defender and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker, ill prisoners were not released until they were at the point of no return. He claimed that prisoners did not have access to proper healthcare facilities.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu also stated that there were close to 1,600 sick prisoners in Turkey, of whom 600 were seriously ill.

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