NGO reports physical mistreatment, denial of meals in northern Turkey prison


The Human Rights Association (İHD) has released a report on a Turkish prison in the northern province of Samsun, documenting the alleged physical assault of 11 inmates who were later deprived of meals, the Mezopotamya news agency reported on Monday.

On March 4 prison guards who entered wards for a head count assaulted 11 inmates and destroyed their personal belongings, according to the report.

The inmates were then put in one-person cells, where they continued to experience mistreatment and were not given any meals for eight hours.

The victims reportedly had visible injuries and marks of violence around their eyes and chests.

The report also said four inmates who were transferred from another prison on February 2 were strip-searched while entering the facility and that those who resisted were assaulted.

This incident caused a fracture in the cheekbone of one inmate who was later hospitalized due to injuries. The inmate was given medical treatment while in handcuffs.

Another detail in the report was that the guards who were involved in the mistreatment frequently used racial slurs against the inmates, in connection with their Kurdish identity.

Torture in custody and prisons is a systematic problem in Turkey about which local rights groups, parliamentarians and state authorities receive hundreds of complaints every year.

Earlier this year, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted a resolution that expressed concern about an increase in alleged incidents reported from Turkey in past years.

Although victims can include people detained or imprisoned on any grounds, several documents in recent years have indicated that the practice is more pervasive and systematic when it comes to people detained during demonstrations that include criticism of the government or those targeted on other political grounds such as their alleged ties to political and civil networks not approved of by the government.

Another abuse that has made the headlines in recent years is the systematic and arbitrary strip-searches of detainees and prisoners.

Rights groups also complain about a climate of impunity, with most complaints against alleged incidents leading to no substantial investigation, in some cases despite available CCTV footage.

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