Corvid-19 and Turkish Prisons

The coronavirus outbreak has not stopped torture in Turkish prisons. Prisoners in Adana Kürkçüler F-Type Prison who protested the government for its inaction which led to the death of Grup Yorum member Helin Bölek, after almost 300 days on death fast, were beaten.

Emine Aydın, mother of Fatih Özgür Aydın, spoke about the beating in prison of four of the prisoners.

Emine Aydın learned about the attack in prison from her son, during their weekly phone call, on 8 April. “My son said that his cells were searched and they were beaten by the guards on 4 April because they protested the death of Helin Bölek. There are 4 people in the cell. Fikret Kara, Umut Gündüz Altun, and a 70-year-old ill prisoner called Sezai. The guards lifted this 70-year-old man from his bed and beaten him. They forced the prisoners to the ground and kicked their heads and faces. They tried to break their arms. My son told me that his face and eyes were covered with bruises.”

Indicating that her son has been suffering from Crohn’s disease for years, Emine Aydın added that his treatment was discontinued because of the coronavirus epidemic. “The authorities only provided a mask and a pair of gloves together with a tea glass full of bleach. My son said they used that bleach drop by drop. Cells are not being disinfected.”

Emine Aydın condemned the decision to exclude political prisoners from the draft law on execution and stressed that it is not possible to accept this discriminatory practice. Noting that her son has been detained for 2.5 years on the sole basis of false statements of an informer named Berk Ercan, Emine Aydın added that Fatih was sentenced to 10 years in prison and that his was waiting for an appeal. Noting that these people were imprisoned only because of their ideas, Aydın said: “They did not rape anyone, they did not steal, they did not take anyone’s life. Our children are left to die.”

Sabri Kaya’s condition remains serious
The condition of Sabri Kaya, a very ill prisoner who was taken to intensive care for the second time, remains serious.

Sabri Kaya, a seriously ill prisoner who was treated at Osmaniye State Hospital for 10 days as a result of a heart attack and brain hemorrhage, was re-hospitalized on Thursday as his condition worsened. It has been stated that Kaya who has been taken in intensive care for the second time, is stable. “My father has been in intensive care since Thursday. His condition remains serious,” said Dilan Kaya.

Prisoner with cancer is not receiving treatment in Izmir jail
Mehmet Salih Filiz, who is in Ödemiş Prison in Izmir, is not treated due to coronavirus epidemic restriction, although he has cancer and tuberculosis.

Mehmet Salih Filiz is being held in Izmir Ödemiş T Type Closed Prison. He has long been struggling with severe diseases such as colon cancer, osteoporosis and tuberculosis.

Filiz, 23, is among the prisoners who are at serious risk, especially during the Covid-19 outbreak. In a telephone conversation with his brother Şehmuz on Wednesday, 8 April, Mehmet Filiz drew attention to the serious violations of the rights of prisoners. Şehmuz Filiz said that the injection his brother needs to be given every 14 days as part of his treatment for cancer, was not given.

Mehmet Salih Filiz told his brother: “I am being treated for many illnesses. Most importantly, I get intestinal and tuberculosis treatment. My medications are not given. I have bowel cancer and need special food. Unfortunately, food comes from Europe, but because of the coronavirus pandemic it is not delivered. There is no food stock in the prison. The meals in the doctor-approved diet program are not provided. On 7 April, a general surgeon saw me because my health was not good. But the surgeon said he could do nothing as my problems were outside his field. He did tell the prison medical unity that I had to be hospitalized urgently. Those working in the health unit are still not giving me my medicine. My health is getting worse by the day.”

Mehmet Salih Filiz’s brother, Şeyhmuz, said: “We are worried about my brother because he is so ill. He is not taken to the hospital due to the virus outbreak, but clearly he cannot continue to be held in prison. He is left to die in prison.”

Prisoner dies of coronavirus in Samsun jail
It was reported that Mehmet Yeter, 70, who was detained in Samsun Bafra Prison, died last week after having contracted the coronavirus and was buried without his family knowing. Mehmet Yeter, who has been in prison for three years, passed away last week due to coronavirus.

According to a news published in Cumhuriyet newspaper, Yeter, who was diabetic, was taken to the 19 Mayıs Medical Faculty Hospital on 16 March. His left leg was amputated on 23 March. Three days later, Yeter was discharged from the hospital and sent back to prison only to be taken to the hospital again as his conditions worsened. However, he could not be saved.

In a letter sent by the Public Prosecutor to Samsun Metropolitan Municipality Cemeteries Directorate, it was stated: “The prisoner named Mehmet Yeter passed away for reasons related to the Covid-19 disease”.

The article in Cumhuriyet claimed that Yeter’s family could not be reached and his burial was ordered taking into account the measures dictated for burials during the coronavirus emergency.

Mehmet Yeter was buried by the Cemetery Directorate teams after the letter of the prosecutor’s office.

Ferhat Yeter, son of Mehmet Yeter, said that he received the news that his father had died from the prison administration. Yeter said: “Although five days had passed since his death, we were never informed by Samsun Prison or any other institution. I learned of the death of my father from another prisoner who called me.”

Hundreds of prisoners deported after Batman riot
The fire in the wards was extinguished and the prisoners were attacked with tear gas.

Prisoners who have been excluded from the law of enforcement to be passed in Parliament due to the coronavirus emergency protested last night in Batman M Type Prison.

Prisoners set at least two wards on fire and shouted “rebellion” and other slogans. Soon after the riot had started, ambulances and firefighters were sent to the prison which outside was surrounded by riot police and special operations police.

When news of the riot spread to the city, worried relatives went to the prison and waited there until the late hours of the night demanding the authorities to make a statement.

No statement was made to prisoners’ relatives and some people protested with applause and whistles while the smoke from prison continued to be visible.

As time passed, many prison vehicles arrived to the prison from the surrounding provinces. According to the information obtained from Human Rights Association (IHD) lawyers, 650 prisoners in prison were deported.

The fire in the wards was extinguished and the prisoners were attacked with tear gas. After the fire was extinguished, families, IHD and the HDP were trying to learn how many prisoners had been deported and where they were sent to. In addition the HDP demanded that prisoners be examined by doctors.