Three inmates died and at least nine were injured in the suppression of prison riots in Turkey’s Hatay and Kahramanmaraş provinces that were triggered by a massive earthquake that has killed over 12,000 people in the country, local media reported on Wednesday.
Turkey’s most powerful earthquake in almost 100 years struck near the city of Gaziantep on Monday, killing over 12,000 people in the country and injuring close to 63,000, according to the latest official figures.
The 7.8-magnitude earthquake, which struck as people were sleeping, was followed by dozens of aftershocks, including a 7.5-magnitude temblor that shook the region in the middle of search and rescue operations the same day.
The Directorate General of Prisons and Houses of Detention (CTE) released two written statements regarding the prison riots in cities affected by the earthquakes, saying that some inmates in Hatay T-Type Closed Prison “attempted to escape” and then started a fire.
Hatay Cezaevi. Evet sıkıntılarımız çok büyük. Bir görüntü daha var. Onu göstermeyi uygun bulmuyorum. pic.twitter.com/hAEL5k9PsD
— Erk Acarer (@eacarer) February 8, 2023
The directorate said 12 prisoners were injured in the resulting intervention and that three of them died shortly after being taken to the hospital.
The CTE also offered an explanation regarding a video circulating on social media that shows some prisoners being beaten and placed face down on the ground with their hands behind their backs, saying it was of inmates at a prison in Kahramanmaraş, close to the earthquake’s epicenter, and not Hatay as claimed.
The directorate said no deaths took place during the riot in Kahramanmaraş Prison and that the minister of justice had assigned inspectors to investigate the incident.
“The claims other than that are not true,” the CTE said.