457 sick inmates in Turkish prisons are in critical condition: rights lawyer

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There are 1,333 ailing inmates in Turkish prisons, 457 of whom are in critical condition, according to Turkey’s Human Rights Foundation (İHD), the Cumhuriyet daily reported on Wednesday.

Lawyer Zeynep Ceren Boztoprak of İHD told the daily that the most important problem in prisons was arbitrary delays in referrals of inmates to hospitals for illnesse.

“When inmates are sick, due to a delay in referrals, their health deteriorates,” Boztoprak said.

Among them, jailed Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş temporarily lost consciousness on Nov. 26 after experiencing pain in his chest and trouble breathing but was not referred to specialists for further examination after receiving basic emergency treatment.

“The conditions in prisons trigger many illnesses, most frequently cancer and hepatitis,” Boztoprak said, adding that some inmates are not even transported to appointments with specialists.

Some inmates, especially those behind bars in politically motivated cases, find it humiliating to be brought to a hospital in handcuffs.

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