Suicide attempt in jail stirs questions

Suicide attempt in jail stirs questions

DİYARBAKIR - Hürriyet Daily News
Suicide attempt in jail stirs questions

Seven inmates attempt suicide in southeastern Diyarbakır prison. DHA photo

Seven prisoners aged 18 to 21 attempted to commit suicide in the juvenile dormitory of a prison in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on Oct 13.

Diyarbakır’s governor says the inmates’ suicide attempt was protest brought on because they wanted to be moved to another cell, but human rights defenders blame poor prison conditions. The inmates took large quantities of pills, and one of them cut his wrists, but “all were in good condition after receiving treatment,” Gov. Mustafa Toprak said on Oct. 14.

“Those whose treatment is complete have been taken back to the prison. The other two prisoners’ state of health is good, but their treatment continues. We understand that some of them pretended to have committed suicide. These prisoners had been charged with robbery, looting and selling drugs,” Toprak told Anatolia news agency.

Human rights defenders, however, have called attention to poor conditions at the prison and have accused officials of closing their eyes to the situation in the over-populated dorms where juvenile and adult inmates are forced to stay together.

The governor’s statement was not convincing, said Raci Bilici, the head of the Human Rights Association’s (İHD) Diyarbakır Bureau.

“The families of the inmates and inmates themselves have complained about the inadequate infrastructure at the prison, saying the number of bathrooms and beds is far from sufficient,” Bilici told Hürriyet Daily News yesterday in a phone interview. “This is a very old prison; more than 20 people are often forced to stay in dorms with a capacity of only seven. Toilets are one of the biggest problems in this prison. Young men and children live together, and this results in harassment.”

Prison officials declined to respond to the Daily News’ questions. Meanwhile, Doğan News Agency also reported yesterday that the suicides attempts were a way for breaking out of the prison .