Report: Prisoners threatened with death, exposed to torture in Mersin

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Prisoners in two prisons in the southern Turkish province of Mersin have allegedly faced maltreatment, physical violence and torture as well as being threatened with death, according to a report in the Cumhuriyet daily on Thursday.

The Human Rights Association (İHD) has filed a criminal complaint with the Tarsus Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office regarding claims of torture in Mersin C type and T type women’s prisons.

A prisoner whose testimony was included in the complaint said: “They [prison officials] threatened us by saying ‘If we kill you here, nobody will know’.”

One of the prisoners, Ayşe Bozkurt, who spoke to the İHD, said she and other inmates have been subjected to swearing and threats in prison. Bozkurt claimed they were held by their hair and that their heads were pushed down during a transfer to the other prison.

Bozkurt added that the water in the new prison smelled bad and that their personal belongings were seized by the prison administration.

Another prisoner with Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome claimed prisoners are deprived of water by prison guards who treat them badly.

Evin Şahin, another prisoner, said she and other inmates are being subjected to sexist swearing, threats and beating by prison guards.

“When we came to the new prison, we were thrown down and held by our hair and neck. Our friend, Selvi Yılan, fell hard on the ground and was injured. Since she was handcuffed, the handcuffs turned down and her arms started bleeding. Prison guards took us to the search room and started beating us. … They beat us because we refused a strip search. I was injured but could not go to the infirmary. We were given no water for two days,” said Şahin.

A report was prepared by the İHD about the torture claims in the two Mersin prisons after meeting with prisoners and prison officials. The report, which also included a beating incident that happened during a transfer of prisoners from the C type prison to the T type prison, was also reported to the Tarsus Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

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