According to the Human Rights Association, there are 1517 sick prisoners in Turkish prisons, 651 of whom are seriously ill. More than 1500 prisoners have cancer, heart, lung or other chronic diseases. Hundreds of prisoners, some of whom are elderly and unable to continue their lives on their own or even bedridden, are persistently kept in prisons. As the treatment of sick prisoners is prevented, they are not released with the “can stay in prison” reports given by the Forensic Medicine Institution, which has become an instrument of the government. Every year dozens of prisoners are sent to death by the fascist state in this way.
The General Directorate of Criminal Affairs of the Ministry of Justice issued a circular on 02.01.2023, introducing new criteria for the commutation or lifting of the sentences of people due to permanent illness, disability and aging. Since the publication of the circular, those responsible for the Sivas massacre, in which 33 intellectuals were burnt alive on 2 July 1993, and members of the Hizbullah gang, who murdered hundreds of people under torture in the 90s, buried them in houses with their hands and feet tied, and drove concrete nails into people’s heads, have been released.
However, seriously ill revolutionary and patriotic prisoners are not released. The non-release of hundreds of seriously ill prisoners who cannot continue their lives alone in prisons is a violation of the right to life.
According to Human Rights Association (IHD) data; 78 prisoners died in 2022 and 35 prisoners died in the first 7 months of 2023. The fascist Turkish state, which usurps the right of revolutionary prisoners to access health, continues to commit crimes against humanity.
Some examples of the conditions of sick prisoners:
BESRA EROL: She has been imprisoned in Elazığ Women’s Closed Prison for 4 years because of her speech at the grave of her son Evrim Deniz Erol, who was murdered in the Suruç massacre.
Although Besra Erol has many health problems such as sinusitis, hernia, leg pain and blood pressure, she is not released.
FATMA TOKMAK: Fatma Tokmak, held in Bakırköy Women’s Closed Prison, is a heart patient, her two heart valves were replaced with artificial valves. She suffers from stomach and blood pressure. She has varicose veins covering her whole body.
TENZİLE ACAR: Tenzile Acar, held in Bakırköy Women’s Closed Prison, suffers from Hepatitis B and Tuberculosis.
MUHLİSE KARAGÜZEL: Muhlise Karagüzel, who is being held in Kayseri Bünyan Women’s Closed Prison, is not being released although she has heart disease.
FATMA ÖZBAY: In May 2018, she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer and underwent surgery in the same month and her left breast was completely removed. She then underwent 8 sessions of chemotherapy and 25 days of radiotherapy. After these treatments, she started drug treatment.
ZELİHA BULUT: Zeliha Bulut, who is held in Kocaeli Gebze Women’s Closed Prison, has joint pains, spasms and pains in her hands, wrists and feet, and varicose veins in all her legs. She also has allergic asthma and gynaecological disorders.
ERGİN AKTAŞ Ergin Aktaş, held in Istanbul/Metris R Type Prison, is missing both hands. He suffers from COPD and cannot manage his life on his own. 5 times he received a report from the Forensic Medicine Institution (ATK) stating that he “cannot survive on his own”. In recent years, he has been suffering from tuberculosis, which caused him to vomit blood and for which he was treated for months with 10 medications a day. He also has back and rheumatic diseases.
DELIL BOZKURT: Delil Bozkurt, who has cancer and is 80 per cent disabled, has a disease that has started to spread throughout his body and he cannot even stand up. If he is not released immediately, he may die in prison in a short time.
FIRAT NEBİOĞLU: Fırat Nebioğlu, a seriously ill prisoner in Diyarbakır High Security Prison No. 1, has kidney failure, severe vision and hearing loss. Nebioğlu had a stroke and has a 92 per cent disability report.
Nebioğlu needs a kidney transplant in order to survive. A kidney was found for Nebioğlu and he was referred to Diyarbakır Gazi Yaşargil Training and Research Hospital on 20 December 2022, but the hospital sent him back without a kidney transplant on the grounds that living in prison conditions after the transplant would put Nebioğlu’s life at risk.
BARIŞ İNAN Barış İnan, who is held in Kocaeli/Kandıra F Type Closed Prison No. 2, has a chronic lung disease. Under prison conditions, Barış İnan’s illness is likely to progress.
Even just 10 examples of the 1517 sick prisoners held by the Turkish state in prisons summarise the situation in prisons.
Isolation is torture and a crime against humanity!
One of the practices by which the fascist Turkish state systematically eliminates the fundamental rights and freedoms of prisoners is the isolation system. Isolation is a system in which the rights of prisoners, which are recognised in laws, international conventions and law, to meet with the prisoner’s lawyer, family, to communicate with the outside world by all means of communication such as telephone, letter, fax, etc. are completely eliminated.
The Turkish state has systematically imposed isolation on Öcalan for 25 years in the F Type prison it built for the leader of the Kurdish Freedom Movement, Mr Abdullah Öcalan, on İmralı Island in February 1999. Öcalan and 3 other prisoners transferred to the same island in 2009 have been kept under absolute isolation since 25 March 2021 and no news has been received from them. Lawyers and family visits are prevented, and they are completely deprived of their rights to make phone calls, send letters, faxes, etc. This practice is part of the fascist Turkish state’s colonialist war and annihilation policy against the Kurdish people.
The Turkish state is gradually extending the Imrali isolation system against political prisoners in other prisons. In addition to the isolation prisons in F Types, political prisoners are subjected to absolute isolation in S and Y Type isolation prisons built in recent years. The practice of isolation is applied not only to prisoners sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment, but also to those recently arrested, as in the case of the socialist youth Müslüm Koyun. Prisoners held in isolation spend 23 hours a day in solitary confinement and are only allowed to ventilate for 1 hour.
Isolation is a systematic torture method and a crime against humanity. With the isolation attack, the Turkish state aims to break the will of the prisoners by breaking all their ties with the outside world, isolating them, pushing them to despair and discouraging them from their ideals. However, it has not and will not succeed in this. For 25 years, it has not been able to break the will of Öcalan or other political prisoners held in isolation.
The policy pursued by the fascist Turkish state towards both isolation and sick prisoners is the policy of killing the political prisoners taken hostage inside. While aiming to kill the prisoners with isolation, physical and psychological torture and usurpation of rights, it aims to spread isolation with bans, attacks, detentions and arrests outside, to keep the whole society under isolation, to intimidate revolutionaries, patriots, women, youth, LGBTI + who are struggling against the fascist dictatorship outside and to discourage them from the struggle.
Embracing political prisoners, the release of sick prisoners and the struggle against isolation are an important part of the struggle against fascism and colonialism. Therefore, we will continue to be in the fields, we will continue to shout for the immediate release of sick prisoners, the abolition of isolation against prisoners and the immediate end to the Imrali isolation system.
Release sick prisoners immediately!
Isolation is a crime against humanity and must be abolished.
Freedom for political prisoners!
Voice of Prisoners Platform (TSP)
Kurdish People’s Democratic Assembly Of Britain (NADEK)
International Committee for Solidarity with Political Prisoners (UPOTUDAK)