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Inmates in Turkish prisons strip-searched and denied basic necessities: report

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Human rights violations are continuing in Turkish prisons as inmates are denied basic necessities and are subjected to strip-searches, according to local media, citing a recent report by the Turkish Parliament’s Human Rights Investigation Committee, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported.

Turkish media reported that investigations in prisons in İzmir and Van provinces have shown that inmates who resist strip-searches are forced to undress and that prison doctors don’t report these incidents. It was reported that guards in a prison in Van unnecessarily touch the inmates and that pregnant inmates are also subjected to this treatment. In many cases pregnant inmates are made to squat during strip-searches.

The committee report said when sick inmates are taken to the hospital, they undergo physical examinations with handcuffs regardless of the severity of their condition. Moreover, upon return they are put in a quarantine cell without access to clean drinking water or food. In most cases, inmates are made to stay in these cells for days.

Inmates in a prison in Van said they were under psychological stress as their petitions went unanswered and that visitations had not been allowed for the past 18 months. Inmates said guards constantly insulted them and at times threatened them. Some books and magazines were not allowed in the prison despite the fact that they were not on the list of banned items.

Similar complaints were made in the İzmir facility. Additionally, inmates said they did not have access to proper healthcare. During the COVID-19 pandemic doctors only visited the prison for emergencies. Most inmates were not able to receive their prescribed drugs and needed to wait up to a month to see a doctor.

In both the prisons, inmates complained of overcrowding and a lack of proper ventilation. There are currently 77 inmates in the İzmir prison in need of a caretaker, but due to over-crowding and a lack of personnel their needs are not met.

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