Co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Pervin Buldan has called on the Turkish parliament to establish a commission of inquiry for rights violations in prisons, the Bianet news website reported.
In her speech at the HDP’s parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, Buldan said they would continue fighting against injustices and rights violations in prisons.
“There are currently 604 seriously ill inmates in Turkish prisons. Many are unable to take care of themselves. Our colleague, former HDP deputy Aysel Tuğluk, is just one of them. Turkey’s Council of Forensic Medicine [ATK] issues medical reports saying these inmates are fit to remain in prison. We want to end rights violations by establishing a commission of inquiry,” Buldan said.
Buldan stated that at least 63 inmates have died in prison in the last nine months.
Doubts over the independence and credibility of the ATK, an institution that assesses the condition of sick inmates to decide if they are fit to remain in prison and is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice, have grown in recent years as more and more critically ill prisoners have died behind bars.
Turkish authorities have denied political prisoners, even those with critical illnesses, release from prison so they can at least seek proper treatment. Human rights activists and opposition politicians have frequently criticized authorities for not releasing critically ill prisoners.
HDP lawmaker Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu said ailing inmates were not released until they were at the point of no return. He claimed that prisoners did not have access to proper healthcare facilities such as hospitals and clinics.
Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu also stated that there were close to 1,600 sick prisoners in Turkey, of whom 600 were seriously ill. He addressed the ATK and asked them to observe medical ethics and to be more conscientious when issuing reports since they could cause the death of ailing inmates.