Relatives of inmates report mistreatment, lack of access to clean water in central Turkey prison

Kırşehir Prison (Photo: Bianet)

Inmates in Kırşehir Prison in central Anatolia have been subjected to physical assaults and a lack of access to clean water, the Bianet news website reported on Tuesday, citing the family members of prisoners.

Inmates Volkan Yılığtekin and Haydar Alaçam were reportedly assaulted by prison guards three days after they went on a hunger strike to protest alleged rights violations.

The prisoners’ request to have their injuries documented was also rejected, the report said.

A family member said tap water was frequently unavailable or muddy, adding that the inmates were already forced to wash their food and dishes in the bathroom due to the prison ward’s design.

“Why is there a water problem in a newly constructed prison?” asked Alparslan Bilgin, the brother of a prisoner.

Sadık Şengül, the father of inmate Rezzan Şengül, said his son was beaten by guards in late February and has been held in a one-person cell since the violent incident.

Rezzan Şengül is a member of Grup Yorum, a leftist folk music band whose members are frequently prosecuted and incarcerated on terrorism charges.

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.

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.

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