A total of 1,154 ailing inmates in Turkey’s prisons, 402 in serious condition, were awaiting medical treatment as of March 2, according to a report from the Human Rights Association (İHD).
The report, which was drafted by the İHD’s Prisons Commission, was published by the Bianet news website on Thursday.
One of the sick inmates, 65-year-old Koçer Özdal, died in Ankara on Monday from cancer. Despite insistent calls from rights organizations for his release due to his condition, Özdal was not released from prison until July 9, when he was transferred to a hospital in Ankara from Samsun where he was jailed.
According to his family, Özdal, who was healthy before going to jail four years ago, got sick because he was kept in solitary confinement for two years and because he was denied proper and timely medical treatment.
Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ayşe Acar Başaran said Özdal passed away without having the chance to bid a farewell to his family.
She said Özdal was kept in inhumane conditions in the intensive care unit of the Ankara hospital, with cuffs on his hands and feet.
According to data from Turkey’s Justice Ministry, 2,300 people have died in jail over the past eight years, either during pre-trial detention or when serving out a sentence. The ministry did not reveal the cause of death of these people.
Rights violations in Turkey’s prisons and denial of medical care to inmates have increased since a failed coup attempt in July 2016, as a result of which the Turkish government has jailed more than 50,000 people on the pretext of anti-coup fight.