Prison administration failed to protect life of inmate who committed suicide: Turkey’s top court
The Turkish Constitutional Court ruled on March 14 that the prison administration at the Ferizli L-type prison in the Sakarya province failed to protect the “right to life” for Fatih Kolbasar, an inmate who committed suicide in his cell in 2008.
The top court argued that officials at the prison did not take the necessary preventive measures, despite the fact that Kolbasar had been diagnosed with psychological problems and previously attempted to kill himself by slitting his wrists.
Kolbasar was arrested in 2008 on charges of voluntary manslaughter.
Shortly after he was admitted to the Ferizli L-type prison, Kolbasar was sent to a public hospital where he was diagnosed with a psychotic disorder and prescribed medication.
Later, the inmate was transferred to a psychiatric hospital and stayed there for two months on a court order after being diagnosed with a drug-related psychotic disorder.
However, he was sent back to prison after being deemed fit to serve his sentence there.
Kolbasar was later examined in another hospital and was diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder and bipolar disorder. Following the medical examination, he was prescribed medication again.
While in prison, Kolbasar tried to kill himself in December 2008 by slitting his writs. After that incident, the other inmates in his cell asked the prison administration to remove him from their cell.
Kolbasar was then transferred to a single cell on Dec. 16, 2008. That same day, he demanded a clothesline along with other items from the prison administration.
The following day, Kolbasar was found dead in his cell. He had hung himself on the metal bars of the cell’s window with the clothesline.
Prison administration failed to protect inmate
Following the incident, the public prosecutor’s office took the testimonies of the wardens and inmates regarding the incident.
In 2013, the public prosecutor’s office ruled for non-prosecution and an appeal against this decision was turned down by a criminal court.
The inmate’s brother, Recep Kolbasar, eventually appealed to the Constitutional Court.
After deliberations, the top court said in a statement that despite Kolbasar’s history of suicide attempt and psychological problems, the prison administration transferred Kolbasar to a single cell and failed to take the necessary preventative measures.
The court noted the prison had two specially designed cells for inmates with psychological problems, but Kolbasar had not been transferred to either of those cells.
“It cannot be argued that prison officials were unaware the inmate would harm himself,” the court said, adding that it was the responsibility of the officials to take the necessary measures to protect the inmate’s health.
The court also criticized how the suicide investigation had been handled.
The investigation process was completed in a fairly short time of five months, but the suspects’ testimonies were collected a year and a half after the incident, the court said, adding that this was not a reasonable period of time.