ÖHD Prison Commission announced report on hunger strikes

ÖHD co-chair lawyer Raziye Turgut pointed out that the prisoners who have been on hunger strike since 16 December have already overcome the critical stage.

The members of the Istanbul Branch of Jurists for Freedom (ÖHD) Prison Commission announced their report on the situation of prisoners in Marmara region on hunger strike at the Istanbul branch of the Human Rights Association (İHD).

The hunger strikes have been turned into a death fast and the prisoners have already passed the critical phase, said the jurists calling on the government to comply with the law.

The members of the ÖHD Istanbul Branch Prison Commission compiled a report on the hunger strike resistance led by DTK co-chair and HDP Hakkari MP Leyla Güven.

The report was presented at a press conference held at the İHD Istanbul Branch.

ÖHD co-chair lawyer Raziye Turgut pointed out that the prisoners who have been on hunger strike since 16 December have already overcome the critical stage.

In February and March 2019, within the framework of the interviews conducted each week with prisoners, Turgut said: “The state and government officials should remove isolation by fulfilling the rightful and legitimate demand of the prisoners.”

The report, which consisted of observations and answers given by political prisoners during the visits in February and March 2019, was read by Lawyer Vedat Ece, member of ÖHD Istanbul Branch Prison Commission.

The report, which consists of 7 pages and is made up of interviews with prisoners on hunger strike in Bakırköy, Maltepe, Ümraniye, Silivri, Bandırma, Düzce, Kandıra, Bolu, Tekirdağ, Edirne prisons, includes notes on the health of the prisoners.

Excessive exhaustion, weight loss, stomach and chest pain, constipation, diarrhea, joint and bone pains, blur in vision, vomiting, heart palpitations, drowsiness in hands and feet, sleep disturbance, sensitivity to light and sound are among the most common symptoms.

The report also underlined that prisoners on the hunger strike who were subjected to verbal harassment by some of the prison guards were not referred to the hospital, their needs were not met and they were subject to constant threats of forced intervention by the prison administration.

The report underlined how the forced feeding and forced treatment are against the medical ethics rules and international conventions and added that prisoners have been subjected to punishments such as phone conversation ban and isolation punishment. The report said that prisoners who did not accept these arbitrary practices were subjected to torture.

In the conclusion part the report denounced that the principle of lawyer-client communication confidentiality was violated and that audio and video recording system was imposed in these interviews.

Meeting the demand of the hunger strikers, said the report, would guarantee the right to life. “We call on the government to take action to meet the rightful and legal demands of prisoners thus preventing any further death.”

Lawyer Sinan Zincir, member of the ÖHD Prisons Commission, invited the Ministry of Justice to implement its own law. Zinc added: “The prisoners on hunger strike has just one demand, which is also granted by the Penal Code. Mr. Öcalan has the right to meet with his family and lawyers.”

Indicating that hunger strikes have actually turned into a death fast, Zincir warned that things could turn for the worst. Zincir called on the Ministry of Justice to comply with its own laws especially with regard to the administration of Imrali.

“What you are doing is torture and torture is a crime against humanity.”

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