Turkey’s Human Rights Association (IHD) Exposes Alarming Human Rights Violations in Turkish prisons
Human Rights Association (İHD) has released its “Turkey Prison Monitoring Report 2022” uncovering a distressing tally of 10,789 rights violations within the nation’s prison system. The report, which is based on visits by volunteer lawyers and applications of inmates, is an alarming account of the state of human rights within Turkish prisons.
The İHD’s report indicates that the documented number of violations only covers 153 out of the 400-plus prisons in Turkey. This suggests that the actual number of violations might be significantly higher, raising serious concerns about the welfare and safety of inmates across the country.
Serious problems threaten wellbeing of prisoner
Out of the reported violations, a staggering 2,439 instances pertain to healthcare and access to medical attention.
One of the most concerning aspects highlighted in the report is the alarming state of healthcare and access to healthcare in Turkish prisons. Out of the reported violations, a staggering 2,439 instances pertain to healthcare and access to medical attention. Tragically, at least 81 inmates lost their lives while in custody in 2022. Six of those deceased prisoners died shortly after their release, raising questions about the adequacy of medical care both inside and outside the prisons.
The dire situation has driven at least 234 prisoners in 33 prisons to engage in hunger strikes and death fasts, using these extreme measures as a way to protest the systemic problems they face.
Overcrowding in prison wards has emerged as a critical problem, significantly impacting inmates’ right to health. The conditions during transfers to hospitals and between prisons were described as unworthy of human dignity, leading to further health complications for the prisoners.
Sick inmates faced significant barriers to timely access to medical care
Sick inmates faced significant barriers to timely access to medical care, with long queues for referrals from infirmaries to outpatient clinics and tertiary health services. The existing health service conditions within the prisons were found to be inadequate and unable to handle the overcrowding.
Furthermore, privacy rights were violated as prison guards and officials entered examination rooms during medical check-ups, undermining patient-doctor confidentiality and trust.
Access to clean and hot water was also highlighted as a major issue, with prisoners reporting difficulties in obtaining drinking water without additional fees. Clean water and proper hygiene facilities were provided inadequately and failed to consider the number of inmates, leading to unsanitary conditions.
Moreover, nutrition within the prisons was found to be severely lacking, with inadequate rations, poor-quality meals, and low nutritional value being common complaints. Shockingly, there were allegations that foreign substances, including hair, nails, and worms, were found in the food, exacerbating the already dismal conditions.
Torture and Ill-Treatment
Another deeply troubling aspect brought to light in the report is the prevalence of torture, ill-treatment, and degrading practices within the prison system. At least 308 violations of this nature were documented in 2022. These included 272 cases of physical assault, threats, and verbal abuse, along with 36 incidents involving provocative behavior displayed by prison guards.
As the report continues to draw widespread attention, human rights organizations and concerned individuals are calling for urgent action to address the dire situation in Turkey’s prisons. The authorities are being urged to take immediate steps to ensure the safety, well-being, and human rights of all inmates under their care.