Silivri Prison inmates complain of ill-treatment, poor prison conditions, says parliamentary committee report

Inmates at Silivri Prison in İstanbul said they had been mistreated and that prison conditions were very poor, according to a report by the Turkish parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights Investigations, which visited the penal facility on June 16, Deutsche Welle Türkçe reported.

The report contains general information about inmate complaints received by the committee. It included comments from inmates with health problems who stated that their treatment was delayed or not provided at all and that requests for treatment requiring a hospital visit were not approved. Inmates also stated that they are subjected to arbitrary punishment by prison staff and that convicts and detainees are unable to easily contact their families.

Inmates in one section of the prison voiced numerous complaints. They stated that they were mistreated during head counts, that the amount of food provided was inadequate, that meals were made edible only with their own resources and that they had limited access to hot water.

They also said it was impossible for inmates who wanted books in Kurdish to obtain them since the prison never replied to their requests. In addition, they claimed that arbitrary disciplinary punishments were often imposed on detainees, who were only allowed to exercise for 50 minutes once a month, and that prescribed medications were not dispensed by the infirmary.

The inmates also said the infirmary, which is designed for 38 people, was occupied by 47 people and that therefore some were lying on the floor. It was also noted that scabies is rampant in this prison due to the unsanitary conditions.

The chairman of the committee, İbrahim Yurdunuseven of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), said they had asked Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ for a meeting regarding the complaints and would send him their report.

Ali Haydar Hakverdi, a member of the committee from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), said they had visited 20 prisons so far and that the problems in the prisons were almost the same. However, Hakverdi said that every time they put the issue on the agenda, they had not received a response from the ministry and said they would continue to work on the issue regardless.

After an abortive putsch in 2016, ill-treatment became widespread and systematic in Turkish detention centers. Lack of condemnation from higher officials and a readiness to cover up allegations rather than investigate them have resulted in widespread impunity for the security forces.

According to a report by the Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TİHV), a record number of people complained about police mistreatment in 2021, with 914 people appealing to the foundation.

An annual report by Amnesty International on the state of human rights in the world revealed that serious and credible allegations of torture and other ill-treatment were made in Turkey last year.

A report drafted by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu said there were 2,694 deaths and 3,145 incidents of torture or maltreatment in Turkey in 2021, with 925 of them taking place in prisons.

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