Keskin: World Health Organization should investigate the Turkish prisons

IHD Co-chair Eren Keskin pointed out the increasingly severe condition of the sick arrestees in prisons and that they had no more opportunities for treatment under the State of Emergency, and called on the World Health Organisation to investigate.

The Ministry of Justice announced the number of chronically ill arrestees and convicts and those in severe conditions in Turkey’s and Kurdistan’s prisons as 387. The ministry announced 114 of the sick prisoners had cancer.

Every day the sick prisoners, seen as “political hostages”, are left without treatment, more damage is done.

The biggest obstacle on their release is the Institutions of Forensic Medicine that are not independent from the political forces and render the treatment of prisoners impossible with the reports they issue.

ANF spoke to Human Rights Association (IHD) Co-chair Eren Keskin on the matter and she said: “The problem here is, that the Institutions of Forensic Medicine need to issue reports stating that they are unfit for imprisonment for sick prisoners to be released. But the Forensic Medicine is an official expertise institution. It needs to be absolutely independent. The Forensic Medicine Institution isn’t independent. Their salaries are paid by the state. That is why we have argued for years that independent expertise institutions and independent doctors must be authorized for documenting torture and assessing the situation of sick prisoners. That is how things are in democratic countries. They are resisting to not correct this. And the Institutions of Forensic Medicine continue to issue negative reports.”

Keskin stated that her client Velit Nas was psychologically unwell and lived in a totally different world, and said: “He can’t be released because the Forensic Medicine Institution has issued a report that he is fit for imprisonment. He is in no condition to be held in prison. That is why we can’t discuss the issue of sick prisoners independently from the political power.”


Keskin stated that there are no opportunities for treatment for sick prisoners in Type R Prisons that have been built recently and added: “While it is not possible to treat the sick without a fully equipped hospital, it is absolutely impossible for them to receive treatment in prison. And none of them do. I visited Sibel Çapraz recently, and she was living in a single-person cell with the toilet inside the cell. She should be in a sterilized environment, but she sleeps in the same space with a toilet bowl. They are mocking us. We are lawyers who know the conditions there. None of the prisoners are in good conditions. Unfortunately, they are held hostage.”


Keskin pointed out that it is wrong to be discussing Mardin Metropolitan Municipality Co-mayor Ahmet Türk’s situation over his health and said: “I know for a fact that he himself is not comfortable with this. They are kept in prisons by the political power. But Ahmet Türk is 74 and he is a person with illnesses. The judicial system has divorced itself completely from moral rules.”


Keskin underlined that the health of sick prisoners deteriorated every day and said: “We as the Human Rights Association issue calls constantly, but this issue needs to be addressed by the World Health Organization. There are international treaties that Turkey has signed. Turkey is not complying with them. The international audits are highly insufficient, I am calling on the organizations to fulfill their duties as soon as possible.”

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