Human Rights Association (IHD) Mersin branch has released a press statement on the steps taken since the allegations of sexual abuse against children in prison were brought into open.
Indicating the prisons problem as one of Turkey’s most significant matters for which no solution has been produced for many years, IHD Mersin branch executive chair Ali Tanriverdi underlined the legal maxim “everyone is innocent unless proven guilty” is never put into practice.
The history of our country is full of examples of pressure, violence, isolation and slaughter, noted Tanriverdi and pointed to the ongoing indefinite-irreversible hunger strikes staged because of the never ending pressure and violence in many areas and in prisons. We demand that authorities fulfill the demands of prisoners to ensure the expiration of these acts, said Tanriverdi.
Remarking that government authorities have done nothing apart from promising to take action soon, Tanriverdi said the followings; “For the last one year, our association has done what required about pressure, violence and sexual abuse against children in Pozanti Juvenile prison to enable an investigation into the allegations and applications by abused children and their families. However, since the subject was brought to the agenda, we have observed that the events are intended to be covered up. The dismissal of four executives of the prison and the transfer of children to the Sincan Prison in Ankara could be the first steps of the actions to be taken, however these actions never serve for a permanent solution to the problem, they on the contrary make the children and their families face new problems.”
Tanriverdi underlined that these steps have made it almost impossible for the children’s families who live in Mersin and Adana and don’t have proper economic means to visit their children who have experienced a great psychological trauma and depression. Staying in one person cells will trigger the psychological problems of these children more, added IHD Mersin Chair and pointed out that the children most of whom are arrested have been tried via teleconference system since 9 March in an unlawful way.
“This system prevents the children from establishing a dialogue with their lawyers and families. It is not possible for these children to act freely in a pressure environment during the trials held via teleconference system. Lawyers and expert psychologists insist that this system is entirely disadvantageous to children”, underlined Tanriverdi and remarked that the solution to the problem lies in the delivery of these children to their families and their continuation with their education in the soonest time.
Tanriverdi noted thatpressure, sexual abuse and rape are not confined to Pozanti prison alone and continued as follows; “We have been receiving new applications, information and allegations from children in other prisons as well. Considering the situation of children, their mothers and families, we in this respect demand a permanent and substantial solution to the problem to relieve the pains of their mothers. In order to present the conclusions we have drawn from the applications made to us and to share our solution offers, the Human Rights Association has demanded a direct-meeting with President Abdullah Gül, Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek, Minister of Justice Sadullah Ergün, Minister of Family and Social Policies Fatma Þahin, President of Parliamentary Commission on Human Rights Ayhan Sefer Üstün and group deputy chairs of all political parties in the Parliament.”
Tanriverdi ended saying that they as human rights defenders will determinedly continue the struggle at any cost.