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641 died by suicide in Turkish prisons in the last 25 years: report

Six hundred forty-one inmates in Turkish prisons died by suicide in the last 25 years, according to a report drafted by a deputy from Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

According to the report by CHP lawmaker Gülize Biçer Karaca, which relied on data from the Justice Ministry and the Council of Europe’s (CoE) “Annual Penal Statistics on Prison Populations — SPACE l 2020,” prisoners in need of psychological assistance don’t have access to the help they require.

Prison staff lack basic training in psychological disorders that could help them spot cases that can lead to suicide, according to the report.

Biçer’s report says that access to adequate healthcare is alarming and continues to worsen by the day.

According to the report, overcrowding in prisons is one of the chief problems that also leads to a lack of personal hygiene.

The CoE report revealed that Turkey had the highest incarceration rate of the 47 CoE countries in 2020, with 357 prisoners per 100,000 inhabitants. There are 297,019 inmates in Turkish penal institutions despite the fact that their capacity is 233,194.

According to Biçer’s report, there are 1,605 sick inmates in the country’s prisons, 604 of whom are in critical condition.

The report also said that since 2014, 125 people have died in Turkish prisons.

Mass detentions and arrests have been taking place in Turkey since a coup attempt in July 2016. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government accuses the faith-based Gülen movement of masterminding the failed coup, although the movement strongly denies any involvement in the abortive putsch.

Critics accuse President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who embarked on a massive crackdown on opponents after the coup attempt, of using the incident as a pretext to quash dissent.

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