LGBTs with light penalties live in one-man cells in southern Turkey
Fırat Alkaç – ISTANBULLGBT inmates in a prison in the Mediterranean province of Antalya are living in one-person cells intended for those with life sentence despite light penalties of the former, with non-governmental organizations and civil rights groups calling the practice “a rights violation,” daily Hürriyet has reported.
An LGBT inmate identified as S.E. said he was living in a one-man cell designated for those with aggravated life imprisonment, even though he was arrested for theft.
“We have around 20 friends in the prison who have reports showing they are LGBT persons. We live in one-person cells because the prison administration does not open a [LGBT] ward on the grounds that the prison population is too dense. If there was a [LGBT] ward we could support each other in these sorts of hard times,” said S.E., an inmate at the prison located in Antalya’s Alanya district.
S.E. said LGBT inmates were allowed out of their cells for only an hour a day and were not allowed to speak to each other when out.
“I can’t even talk to any LGBT friends of mine. We’re already depressed. We have to support each other in hard times like this. We’ll run out of our health soon,” S.E. said, stressing the vitality of social interaction with other LGBT inmates.
“The Justice Ministry should immediately find a solution to this. This is a rights violation,” said Civil Society in the Penal System Foundation (CİSST) member Mustafa Eren, adding that the CİSST received six separate letters from LGBT inmates living in the Alanya L-type Prison about their current situation.
Another LGBT inmate identified by the initials Ü.P. said the prison was its over capacity and overpopulated.
“The only solution [to LGBTs’ problem of living in one-man cells] is transferring us to another prison which has a LGBT ward. Believe me that I’ve been sleeping alone for six months now. We have only an hour to spend outside our cells, but we do not have any social activity,” Ü.P. added.