Conditions at Turkish military prison criticized

Conditions at Turkish military prison criticized

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Parliament’s Human Rights Commission has concluded that inmates at a military prison in southern Turkey were subjected to psychological distress due to 24-hour fluorescent lighting and constant surveillance.

The findings, detailed in a report obtained by the Hürriyet Daily News, pertained to the prison of the 5th Armored Brigade in Gaziantep, which commission members visited, along with several government-run jails.

The report said florescent lighting and audio-video cameras were on for 24 hours not only in areas of common use but also in the wards in the Gaziantep military prison, forcing many inmates to take medication in order to sleep.

“The audio and video recording of individuals in their private realm cannot be justified, regardless of any regulatory or security considerations. This practice, which violates individual rights, should be ended,” the report said.

In further findings, the report said the Konya Type-E Prison housed 1,081 inmates despite its 700-man capacity. “Since there are not enough beds, some inmates have to sleep on mattresses on the floor,” it said.

“The overcrowded wards also have ventilation problems, worsened by inmates smoking,” the report said, while raising questions over the adverse health impact of prisons’ exemption from a smoking ban in public buildings

The report suggested shortening trial periods in order to prevent overcrowding at prisons and building new prisons to address the issue.

The speeding up of the judicial system would be a key to resolving the problem of overcrowding in prisons, the report said, stressing that inmates in pre-trial detention made up a significant portion of the more than 100,000 people who remain incarcerated in Turkey.