Çevirmen: Rights of ill prisoners heavily denied

The decision by Aysel Koç, a ill prisoner, to end her life in Sincan Women’s Prison a few days ago, has brought the issue of ill prisoners on the agenda again.

Nuray Çevirmen, member of the Human Rights Association (IHD), said that medical treatments are inadequate and the issue of ill prisoners must be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Çevirmen reminded that there are 1,334 ill prisoners in Turkish jails, 457 of them in very serious conditions. “We are witnessing a high number of deaths in prisons”, said the IHD executive, adding: “In 2019, 63 prisoners died in prison. Prisons living conditions are really difficult even for healthy people. For ill prisoners it is an intolerable situation. Prisoners are not treated or they are forced to undergo examinations while handcuffed. This has turned into a torture. Prisoners lack sufficient nutritional facilities, the prison administrations do not have tools to intervene in case of an emergency, there are many problems and not always a doctor is at hand. A “slow death” is imposed on ill prisoners.”

Reminding that Aysel Koç was also on the list of ill prisoners, Nuray Çevirmen added that despite the report saying she could not be left alone, “Aysel Koç was kept in a single cell, first for 6 months and then 7 days before her death. She faced many rights violations. The life of a prisoner is under the responsibility of the prison. Epilepsy patients cannot be left alone, yet Aysel was. The prison administration should investigate this issue, and those who violate her rights should be punished. Because this is a very important issue. We say the right to life is sacred. The state is obliged to protect this right to life, but unfortunately this obligation has not been fulfilled.”

Other critical situations

Nuray Çevirmen reminded of other critical situations, such as that of Engin Aydınalp, in Bafra T-type prison, and whos conditions are getting worse. Aydınalp has been in prison for 28 years and has been suffering from many different and serious health issues.

Çevirmen said that “unfortunately the issue of ill prisoners is not on the agenda, yet it should be. We want to call on everyone to make sure this issue is kept on the agenda and rights of prisoners to health are secured.”