Thursday, March 25, 2010

Human Rights Association Releases Prison Report

From Today's Zaman:
The chairman of the Human Rights Association (İHD), Öztürk Türkdoğan, has criticized the high number of arrests made as part of judicial investigations in Turkey, which he said has become a form of punishment in itself.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday where he discussed the İHD’s “Report on Violations in Prisons 2009,” Türkdoğan called on the Justice Ministry to amend Article 100 of the Code on Criminal Procedure (CMK) to make it more difficult for people to be arrested when an investigation is being conducted into them.

More than half of those imprisoned in Turkey have simply been arrested and are either awaiting trial or are waiting for a verdict on their cases. Currently there are 118,929 people in prison in Turkey, 60,598 of whom have not yet been sentenced, according to the Justice Ministry’s statistics. “This is a clear indicator of how anti-democratic and unjust the regime of arrests is and how it is used as a type of punishment. The ratio of people under arrest among the prison population is not as high in any other country. Inmates are sleeping in shifts in Turkey. There two to three times more people in prisons than the facilities are capable of holding. This situation causes many cases of human rights violations.

The situation is even worse in juvenile prisons, where there are currently 2,789 inmates. Less than 10 percent are serving prison sentences, the rest have simply been arrested and are awaiting trial. “Turkey continuously violates the Declaration of the Rights of the Child,” the human rights activist asserted.

The report, which was prepared based on information received by the İHD and cases mentioned in the press, suggests that 24 inmates died in prisons last year. “Forty-nine more people were not released despite their serious health problems,” said Türkdoğan. He said if the president continues to use his pardoning power based on reports prepared by the Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK), more people will die while in prison.

Türkdoğan further argued that prison conditions deteriorated in 2009 compared to previous year. “Torture and mistreatment as well as violations of the right to nourishment and medical attention have increased,” he said.
For Bianet's summary of the report, click here. I have tried to find the IHD report, but have had no success.

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