Nearly 2 mln inmates file complaints citing rights violations in Turkey’s prisons since 2010: report

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Close to 2 million inmates in Turkey’s prisons have filed complaints of human rights violations stemming from a variety of reasons that include poor jail conditions and maltreatment in the last 10 years, an opposition lawmaker said.

The report was based on Justice Ministry data and authored by Gamze Akkuş-İlgezdi, a lawmaker and vice chair of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

Inmates cited poor living conditions and maltreatment in Turkish prisons in the complaints, reporting violations of their rights to adequate nutrition, humane treatment, educational opportunity and the ability to transfer to other penal facilities, among others, the report said.

The results of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s oppressive policies can be best observed in Turkey’s prisons, İlgezdi said, adding that a total of 1,691,131 prisoners submitted complaints between 2010 and 2019, a figure that corresponds to 20 complaints per hour.

The lawmaker also highlighted an increase in the number of inmates who filed complaints over the years, saying that while 17,280 prisoners complained about conditions in prisons in 2010, the figure rose to 319,807 in 2019.

“The new system of governance in Turkey promotes mass punishment,” İlgezdi claimed, underlining that the number of prisoners who received disciplinary punishments had risen by 365 percent in the last 10 years.

A total of 301,901 inmates in Turkish prisons were disciplined between 2010 and 2019, according to the lawmaker’s report, with the number increasing from 11,848 in 2010 to 55,060 in 2019.

“When we take into account that the total number of inmates in Turkey’s prisons was 291,546 in 2019, the number of those who were given disciplinary punishments amounts to 19 inmates in every 100,” the MP said.

She added that nearly 108,000 prisoners had been punished since the country switched from a parliamentary system to a presidential system of governance in a 2017 referendum that granted AKP leader and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vast powers.

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