HDP deputy calls for investigation into death of Kurdish inmate

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Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Sait Dede has called for an investigation into the circumstances of the death of a Kurdish inmate in eastern Turkey’s Van F-Type Prison, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported, the Bold Medya news website.

Şervan Can Güder, 22, died after suffering a heart attack on Tuesday. However, HDP deputies called for an investigation, saying Güder had no prior health problems and that his death was suspicious.

In a parliamentary question addressing the justice minister, Dede said they feared Güder was a victim of ill-treatment in prison or that he had health problems that were not taken care of.

HDP deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu pointed out on Twitter that another Kurdish inmate, 25-year-old Sinan Kaya, had died in prison on Sunday. Kaya was in Iğdır Prison and was charged with “disseminating terrorist propaganda.” The prison administration said Kaya had taken his own life.

Gergerlioğlu called for an investigation into both deaths and added that after his death the prison did not provide Güder’s family with a hearse. The family was forced to transfer his body to the cemetery on the back of a truck.

“This young boy died in a state prison. He was at least entitled to a hearse but was denied one. What is the reason for such inhumane treatment?” asked Gergerlioğlu.

The Van Governor’s Office said the accusations were not true, in a statement published on its website. “The family was provided with a hearse to transfer the body from the prison to the Council of Forensic Medicine and then to the funeral,” it said.

However, videos of Güder’s coffin being transported on the back of a truck have been circulating on Twitter.

There has been a worrying increase in prison deaths. Vedat Erkmen died on December 19 after allegedly taking his own life in a solitary cell. His family has expressed their doubts, however, and said their son was not someone who would kill himself.

Another Kurdish inmate, Garibe Gezer, was found dead in her cell on December 9. The prison administration claimed she hung herself in her cell where she was incarcerated alone.

Gezer had earlier told her sister that she was put in a padded cell where she was stripped in front of male guards, beaten, sexually harassed and left without medical treatment.

Gezer had attempted suicide before but was put to a solitary cell despite that.

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