The Turkish Justice Ministry has suspended two deputy directors and four guards at an Elazığ prison where seven political prisoners were reportedly stabbed by other inmates, the Human Rights Association announced on Tuesday (İHD).
The İHD also stated that two alleged assailants were transferred to other prisons.
In the incident, which took place in August, two inmates who introduced themselves as “men of the deep state” had stabbed seven inmates in a high-security prison in the province of Elazığ, raising fears of government-sanctioned extrajudicial executions.
The victims were in pre-trial detention or convicted over their alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement or the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a separatist organization conducting armed warfare against the Turkish state for decades.
A local branch of the İHD released a statement after meeting with the prison prosecutor, announcing that the Justice Ministry has appointed inspectors to investigate the incident and suspended two deputy directors as well as four prison guards. The statement also indicated that criminal investigations were launched into the alleged perpetrators.
The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of orchestrating a failed coup in July 2016 and views the group as a terrorist organization. The movement denies the accusations.
Turkey’s overly broad and ambiguous anti-terror legislation, coupled with the gradual decline of judicial independence over the last decade, has resulted in the mass detention of thousands of alleged Gülen movement followers and politically active Kurds over social affiliation and political commentary.
In the 2022 edition of the Rule of Law Index published by the World Justice Project, Turkey ranked 116th among 140 countries, with a score even worse than Russia and Belarus.