CHP wants fundamental reform in Turkish prisons

CHP wants fundamental reform in Turkish prisons

CHP wants fundamental reform in Turkish prisons

CHP report says the prison conditions should be monitored by independent delegations with reforms. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Turkey needs to make fundamental reforms of the country’s prisons in order to increase prison conditions to a level compatible with human dignity, according to a recent report of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

“Bringing the prison conditions to a point compatible with human dignity can be possible if and only if fundamental reforms are made. Prison conditions should be monitored by an independent delegation with prospective reforms,” the CHP’s report on prisons said.

Drafted by CHP deputies Veli Ağbaba, Özgür Özel and Nurettin Demir, the report is based on their visits to 28 prisons all over Turkey. It highlights the lack of medical services in prisons, noting that almost 30 percent of inmates the CHP deputies visited complained of digestive system diseases. High blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes are among the other most common health complaints of inmates.

Inmates are facing discrimination according to their political views or the type of crime committed, the report said. “While inmates in some F-type prisons have the possibility to benefit from social activities and have conversation with other inmates, prisoners in Silivri prison are not allowed to benefit from any of these activities,” Ağbaba told reporters.

Regardless of their political identity, “political prisoners,” including suspects in the Ergenekon coup plot and outlawed Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) cases are facing humiliating treatment during body search processes before and after seeing their visitors and lawyers, Ağbaba added.

Prisoners are also facing discrimination according to their sexual orientation, he noted.

Ağbaba cited an anecdote from a visit to Silivri Prison to highlight the inconsistent and unfair treatment of inmates

“During my visit to our [jailed lawmaker] Mustafa Balbay, I entered a visiting room by mistake where a prominent mafia leader was being held. The room was like his private office with special armchairs, special letterhead papers with his name on the table and with gold-plated pens and a gold-plated letter opener,” Ağbaba said. “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it, as [CHP deputy] Mehmet Haberal, [former chief of General Staff] İlker Başbuğ and many other suspects of the Ergenekon case are kept under heavy isolation in Silivri prison.”