Letter from female prisoner reveals systematic punishment in Turkish jail

A letter of a female prisoner in Tarsus T-type closed prison has revealed the systematic patterns of ill-treatment and torture in Turkish jails. According to the letter reported by pro-Kurdish Dihaber news agency punishments have purportedly included beating, being dragged to the ground and trying to strangling.

The letter of prisoner Azize Yakoğlu has showed numerous detainees were exposed to severe violence and systematic punishment under custody at the prison. Since it is a recently built prison, the women were sent from many prisons as Yakoğlu said that she was sent from Tarsus C-type closed prison to there.

Torture became extremely widespread with the implementation of the rule of emergency (OHAL) in Turkey. The newly built Tarsus T-type closed prison has also become one of the prisons in which detainees are subjected to human rights violations.

After being sent to Tarsus T-type closed prison from Tarsus C-type jail, Yakoğlu told that they were threatened and harassed by soldiers. Military officers and common soldiers during the referral threatened them. When they were put on the police wagon, the soldiers have told, “We can kill you. We are all statesmen.” Yakoğlu then said that she was beaten in the police wagon and handcuffed. The military officers made a sign of a salutation, “a fist with the little finger and index finger raised” namely known as “Bozkurt”, and beat us one by one in the vehicle.

“Many people were thrown out from the police van. When we made a sound, we were being kicked by the guards, and they put us in solitary cells, continued to engage in violence again,” Yakoğlu told. She explained that they perpetrated violence to the prison, and when they just arrived in their cell, their chest was kicked and the guardians put them down and up again.

She also told that some of their friends have been lifted up and thrown to the ground. Tearing their hair and dragging to the ground, slapping the face, punching in the ribs and trying to strangle by hold the mouth were common practices. “After all this has been done, we have begun to be dragged, crossed and shoeless with our arms in the opposite clamp position to the cells.”

Yakoğlu explained that they were being attacked by “robocops” mainly of rapid deployment forces waiting in the prison while they were taken to the cells.  She told that they can only go to their cells after three stages of systematic punishment by noting that the oral and psychological ill-treatment continued after being placed in the cells. Yakoğlu stated that they were not allowed to go to the fresh air for two days and that the guards told them, “You will see more. We will do more.” When they asked for water, the guardians told them, “Even if it rains, you do not have a drop of water.”

Yakoğlu added, “We wanted to report the torture that was practiced, but none of us were taken to the hospital. Despite having serious injuries on their bodies, some of my friends were not permitted to go to the infirmary, as a result permanent scars occurred on their bodies.”

Underlining that they were not allowed to go to a doctor for two weeks, Yakoğlu stated that some detainees still have vomiting and stomach ache, even though it has been weeks. Following the physical torture, she noted that psychological disturbances occurred in female prisoners. Yakoğlu said the traumas that formed were: “Breathless, fearful of sudden movements, frightened, frightened of being alone, unable to remember where they were in the first violence, seeing torture in the dream, anxiety about loneliness and not feeling happy to live.”

The torture, ill-treatment, abusive, inhuman and degrading treatment of people who are deprived of their liberties in Turkey’s detention centers and prisons have become a norm rather than an exception under increased nationalistic euphoria and religious zealotry in the country, a study by Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) on June 6, 2017 has revealed.

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