LGBT inmates tell stories of maltreatment in Turkish prisons

LGBT inmates tell stories of maltreatment in Turkish prisons

LGBT inmates tell stories of maltreatment in Turkish prisons

AP Photo / Emrah Gürel

A recently published book has revealed tortures and pressures LGBT inmates face in Turkey.

In his book “Volta Çark,” Rosida Koyuncu interviewed with 17 inmates about their life in prison as members of the LGBT community in Turkey, daily Milliyet reported. A transsexual woman, named Burçak, explains in the book that she had to quit her job as lawyer due to the pressure from society, after which she became a sex worker.

“There is pressure, psychological torture and isolation in prison. I stayed in different prisons for seven years. I attempted to commit suicide but I did not die,” said Burçak.

Avşa, another LGBT member, said he was raped by a prison guard in Giresun Prison. She was sent to Tokat while the guard was sentenced to jail. She was sent to different prisons in Niğde, Gümüşhane and Bafra. 

Hazal, a transsexual inmate, said prison guards asked her to entertain them. In the Sinop Prison, she said she was not taken to the prison hospital in order to prevent other inmates from learning that there is a transsexual staying in the prison. In Kartal prison, she was strip searched. 

In Turkey, LGBT members are put in cells alone, rather than with other inmates. They claim that the practice is isolating and thus, another punishment.  

In October 2012, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Turkish prison authorities had subjected a gay male to “inhuman and degrading” treatment in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. In 2008, the applicant requested a transfer from a cell where he was being bullied. Instead, he was placed in solitary confinement for over eight months. The court fined the state for treatment that caused “hardship beyond that which is an unavoidably inherent feature of detention.” Ankara was ordered to pay the defendant 22,000 euros.