Turkey’s İHD warns health of 4 prisoners on hunger strike deteriorating

The Prison Commission of Turkey’s Human Rights Association’s (İHD) İstanbul Branch  has issued a warning on the condition of political prisoners Ergin Aktaş, Dicle Bozan, Yusuf Bulut and Ehmedi Xami, who have been on a hunger strike since April 20 in İzmir’s Menemen R Type Prison.

Mehmet Acettin, a member of the İHD Istanbul Prison Commission, issued a press statement on behalf of the commission and said: “Ergin Aktaş has one arm only to the elbow, and he doesn’t have the other hand. In addition, patients with COPD have been kept in one-person cells since the declaration of the state of emergency [OHAL] despite reports saying they should not be left alone.”

Acettin continued: “Dicle Bozan is missing a leg and has injuries to the other and in his intestine. In addition, he requires surgery on the intestines, but the operation has not been performed. Yusuf Bulut, born in 1950, is suffering from bowel cancer and is confined to a bed. Ehmedi Xami, born in 2000, is paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair.”

“Surgery and medical attention must be secured. Prison conditions must be improved. Long waiting times for medical tests must be shortened,” Acettin said and added, “We ask for these demands to be met in order to prevent the further deterioration in the health of these prisoners, whose lives are at risk.”

Speaking at the press conference, lawyer Gülizar Tuncer also said that Menemen R Type Prison did not meet the needs of the prisoners and that in fact sick prisoners face unbearable conditions.

“We know that systematic torture is common in prisons. These four seriously ill prisoners have not been given the necessary care. They have even been refused a transfer to better-equipped prisons. And they have embarked on an indefinite hunger strike, risking their lives with every passing day.”

Aktaş, Bulut (68) and northern Syrians Bozan and Xemî (18) are continuing the hunger strike they started on April 20 due to the restrictions on their rights and the discriminatory practices they have faced.

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