Member of the Turkish parliament and human rights defender Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu on Tuesday claimed that a 70-year-old inmate in Sincan Prison in Ankara has tested positive for COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus.
“The prison director has notified the ministry,” Gergerlioğlu tweeted. “For two weeks, we have been struggling to raise the urgency of this matter, and we have been receiving evasive answers [from authorities].”
Several reports in the Turkish media over the past week have revealed that the Turkish government is working on a bill allowing for the release of some of the prison population.
As Turkey has confirmed increasing numbers of cases of COVID-19, human rights groups have been pointing to the risks associated with the overcrowding and hygiene problems in the country’s correctional institutions.
Gergerlioğlu has launched a signature campaign calling on the government to include political prisoners in the bill and to urgently release all high risk individuals without discrimination.