PRISONS and HUMAN RIGHTS
In February Justice Minister Cemil Çiçek answered a question of CHP Konya deputy Atilla Kart and stated that 17.678 civil servants for execution and protection were employed in the prison. During the last four years 22 new prisons, 11 of them of type F had been opened. In answer to a question tabled by AKP Adıyaman deputy Mahmut Göksu the Minister said that between 16 May 2000 and 12 November 2004 the State President Ahmet Necdet Sezer had pardoned 252 prisoners under his authority provided in Article 104 of the Constitution. Two of them had later been re-imprisoned on charges of creating panic by throwing explosives.
In March Cemil Çiçek answered a question tabled by DYP Denizli deputy Ümmet Kandoğan stating that 26,010 convicts and 31,920 remanded prisoners were in the prisons as of 31 December 2004. As of 30 October 2004 there had been 2,881 convicts and 1,638 remanded prisoners charged with offences against the personality of the State; 5,213 convicts and 9,023 remanded prisoners charged with offences against persons; 7,170 convicts and 10,186 remanded prisoners charged with offences against objects and 2,479 convicts and 1,694 remanded prisoners charged under special legislation. For the same date the number of prisoners aged 11 to 15 had been 90 convicts and 209 remanded prisoners; prisoners aged 15 to 18 had been 199 convicts and 1,808 remanded prisoners. The figures for prisoners over 65 years of age had been 354 convicts and 155 remanded prisoners.
On 11 March Ankara Heavy Penal Court No. 11 started to hear the case of 46 defendants from the Socialist Platform of the Oppressed (ESP) who had staged a demonstration against the Law on Execution of Sentences in Ankara on 7 December 2004. Defense lawyer Selçuk Kozağaçlı asked that the Court declared itself not responsible. The defendants had been charged with membership of an armed gang (Article 168 TPC), but actually might only be charged with a violation of Law 2911 on Demonstrations and Meetings. The Court adjourned the hearing to 27 April to decide on the demand. After the hearing 28 defendants were released.
The action on 7 December 2004 had been staged when the draft Law on Execution of Sentences was debated in the Grand National Assembly (GNAT). The police detained 46 people including 12 women. The reporters Ufuk Han and Selver Orman from the journal Atılım had been among the detainees that were remanded on 10 December.
After the second hearing on 27 April seven defendants were released. 11 defendants remained in pre-trial detention. The hearing was adjourned to 22 June. Another hearing was held on 17 August. After the hearing the last remanded defendants Yusuf Bayraktar, Deniz Bakır, Gülcan Taşkıran and Dursun Armutlu were released. The next hearing was scheduled for 26 October.
In Denizli 10 people were indicted for a similar demonstration. Denizli Heavy Penal Court No. 3 started to hear their case on 11 January. The remanded defendants Umut Göllü, Olcay Bayraktar and Ercan Bulut (SDP members) were released. In this trial the defendants are charged with hindrance of the freedom of education and resistance against officials.
On 17 June three regulations on the distribution of prisoners according to the correctional centers, on material allowed in correctional centers and visits of prisoners entered into force. The regulations had been passed in order to comply with new legislation. Some of the new provisions were:
- Prisoners sentenced to aggravated lifer imprisonment can only be visited by relatives of the first degree;
- The conversations have to be conducted in Turkish. If the prisoner and/or the visitor does not know Turkish talks will be allowed but recorded;
- Offences are divided into international felonies, against persons, against sexual inviolability; against society and against the nation and the State. People with different sexual orientation will get a separate evaluation. As far as organizations are concerned the prisoners will be divided into leaders, active member, those who left the organization and impartial;
- In order to be categorized prisoners will be held under observation in cells for one person for up to two months. During this time they will have no contact to other prisoners;
- On demand prisoner get education in religion and moral;
- Prisoners pay for electricity apart from the costs for lightning. They can buy electronic equipment such as refrigerators from the canteen;
- The prosecutor can ban visits for the "sake of investigation".
In June Kenan İpek, General Director for Prison stated that 10 different institutions and formations carried out a strict inspection of the prisons. Besides inspectors of the Justice Ministry and controllers of the general directorate supervising councils, judges on execution of sentences, the Human Rights Investigation Commission of the GNAT, the Human Rights Presidency in the Prime Ministry, the State Minister for Human Rights, the General Directorate for Prison, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) and the prosecutors all had the duty to examine the situation in the prisons. İpek reminded that 53,331 persons were imprisoned and 24,307 personnel were on duty in the prisons. Another 6,638 persons should be employed in addition.
On 12 July the circular on libraries in correctional centers entered into force. It restricted the publications allowed in prisons. The circular stated that publications which the educational council had found to contain news, articles, photographs or comments that might endanger public security or be pornographic would not be allowed in prison even of these publications had not been banned. The publications allowed in prisons were listed in Article 12 of the circular as increasing the love of humans to their home country and nation and developing the moral value of prisoners. In addition the publications had to be in line with the nationalism, principles and attitudes of Atatürk.
On 13 July the Statute for the Use of Personal Money taken from Prisoners was published in the Official Gazette. According to the Statute the Ministry will determine how much money prisoners may spend during one week. The Ministry will also determine the upper limit for expenses of prisoners in the canteen and for communication. The Statute provides that prisoners are not allowed to carry money on them. Only for prisoners in semi-open prisons and in educational institutions exceptions will be made with a certain amount of money that the prisoners may take with them.
At the end of December Justice Minister Cemil Çiçek announced that all decrees that had been published earlier had been cancelled and that fresh circulars would be issued as of 1 January 2006. The step came parallel to amendments of several laws including the penal code and the code of criminal procedures.
Fast and Pardoned Prisoners
Bilal Çoşelav (17) died in Erzurum E-type Prison on 17 December 2004. The family was informed on 30 December 2004. His father Bekir Çoşelav filed a complaint with the public prosecutor in Kars alleging that guardians had killed his son. He named the guardians Atilla Ovat and Fuat Yavuz as guardians who had had a dispute with his son.
On 6 January Seyfettin Çağmen, member of Kongra-Gel, who had been extradited from Iran in January 2004, died in Ankara Numune Hospital where he was under treatment of cancer of his intestine. He had been in hospital for three months.
According to an official statement the remanded prisoner Fırat Turgut committed suicide in İstanbul-Bayrampaşa Prison on 3 February.
On 26 May Faruk Kadıoğlu set himself on fire in Tekirdağ F-type Prison. He died the same day. On 9 May he had started a death fast action against the Law on Execution of Sentences and the Code of Criminal Procedures. Reportedly he would have been released in four months.
On 15 July Mehmet Kaderci (40) committed suicide in Muğla Prison. Reportedly he helped the police in cracking down gangs collecting protection money and did not stand the pressure when he was put in one prison with another 64 suspects.
On 27 July Murat Polat died in hospital after he had been beaten in the military prison of Adana on 27 June. He had been detained on that day as deserter from military service and the guardians in prison had beaten him. The prosecutor in Adana investigated against 29 persons, but did not conclude the investigation in 2005.
Savaş Uzun, remanded in İzmit on 1 September on charges of murder was killed by fellow prisoners (names not revealed).
Reports from Kırıklar F-type Prison (İzmir) stated that the political prisoner Serdar Arı set himself on fire on 24 October. The autopsy report stated that he died because of smoke. Lawyer Bahattin Özdemir stated that the corpse of Serdar Arı had not shown any traces of burning. HRA official Necla Şengül asked why the prison administration had not extinguished the fire if Serdar Arı had set his cell on fire.
On 13 November Enver Arpalı, SG of the 100 Year University in Van, committed suicide in Van M-type Prison. He had been remanded on 11 July on charges of fraud and not been taken to court. The dean Prof. Yücel Aşkın, who had been remanded in 14 October and held in the same cell, had a heart attack when he was questioned on the death of Enver Arpalı.
On 27 November Ömer Uzun committed suicide in a prison in Merzifon district (Amasya). In an attempt to rob a car used for transport of money from banks he reportedly had shot two security officers.
On 14 December Mehmet Sayan committed suicide in Diyarbakır E-type Prison. Mehmet Sayan was in prison for having killed his wife.
In May prisoners in Ümraniye Prison (İstanbul) protested against disciplinary punishment of a friend by setting fire to the beds in their ward. On intervention of the prosecutor for prisons, Zihni Doğan, they stopped their action.
In June Ali Gönül (28) and Turan Doğan (25) had a fight for an unknown reason in Kırıklar F-type Prison (İzmir). Ali Gönül was seriously wounded with a spit and Turan Doğan had slight injuries to his face and his hip.
Asya Ülker, lawyer in İstanbul, stated that her client Bilal Önen, imprisoned in Tekirdağ F-type Prison on charges of membership of the PKK cut his throat and both wrists in July in order to protest the situation of Abdullah Öcalan and the operations in Southeast Anatolia.
On 1 November some 60 prisoners in ward 4 of Alanya B-type Prison (Antalya) rioted when the demand of fellow prisoners to be transferred to their ward was not met. Soldiers entered the ward with gas bombs and broke the doors. In connection with the incident Cafer Eren, Zekeriye Eren, Nevzat Özdemir, Ayhan Nazik, Mustafa Gültekin, Faruk Demir, İsmail Hakkı Daş, Mustafa Varol and Metin Şener were transferred to Karaman Closed Prison. Prison Conditions
The Human Rights Investigation Commission in the GNAT issued declarations on the prisons in February and March. They had inspected F-type prisons in Tekirdağ, Kocaeli and Adana and stated that the prisoners there had serious mental problems. The deputies warned that the prisoners might return to society as problematic persons if no serious measures were taken.
The deputies suggested that common spaces and time should be increased. The law that had been passed in recent years had not been implemented on a sufficient level. The Commission criticized that the administration in the prisons issued penalties although there was no authority to sentence persons.
Further points of criticism were: bureaucratic obstacles, hindrance of social activities, bad nutrition, unhealthy fresh air areas and pressure of guardians. The guardians in return had complained that the prisoners did not follow the rules in prison.
On 9 July the Union of Prisoners' Relatives (TUYAB) issued a statement on the penal code that had increased problems with communication, health and the right to life in prison. In particular prisoners in F-type prisons were not granted the necessary treatment, visits were banned and from time to time they were beaten.
Hanzey Güldoğan, sister of Aysel Güldoğan imprisoned in Gebze F-type Prison, stated at the same press conference that her sister had shown marks of beatings during a hearing at İstanbul Heavy Penal Court No. 3 and had filed an official complaint. The prisoner Filiz Gülkokuer was suffering from blood cancer but was not taken for treatment because she refused a body search.
Seza Mis Horoz from TUYAB said that prisoners with life imprisonment were put in isolation. Menderes Leyla and Ali Baba Arı had been beaten when they were taken to cells in Tekirdağ F-type Prison. Zeynel Firik and Ali Şahin had been told to pay for their medication, although they had shown a letter from the Justice Ministry that the medication should be provided for them.
Hüseyin Eser, father of Murat Eser, stated that 121 letters of his son written during the last three years had not been sent to their destination, When he went to see his son in Elbistan Closed Prison on 17 May he had been given the letters.
Batman M-type Prison
In May political prisoners in Batman M-type Prison were punished with a ban on letters and phone conversations for one month because of a hunger strike they had conducted earlier. İzzettin Onar, father of the prisoner Sabiha Onar said that the pressure in that prison increased after Ali İhsan Çetindere had been appointed the director of this prison.
Bitlis M-type Prison
In January Bahattin Boz wrote a letter to the Justice Minister complaining that his son, held in Bitlis M-type Prison as a member of the PKK was kept waiting in the snow for one hour. He said: "My son has been sentenced to 36 years' imprisonment and has been in prison for the last 10 years. In Muş E-type Prison the first director and the chief guardian beat him. In November he was transferred to Bitlis E-type Prison and here he had to wait naked in the snow for one hour. He was punished with isolation for 3 months and 1 month's ban on visits. When I wanted to see my son on 24 December 2004 I was not allowed inside. The prosecutor said that my son was a terrorist and even the State President would not be able to give me permission."
At the end of May Gülşen Çaçan said about her daughter Pınar Çaçan, imprisoned in Bitlis E-type Prison that she had been put under pressure to become a confessor. She narrated what her daughter had told her: "She received a phone call from the confessor Giyasettin Çaçan staying in the same prison. He threatened that if she did not what she was told something would happen to the people on trial with her. My daughter also told me that soldiers insulted her on her way to hospital, although she had not shouted the slogan in Kurdish 'Long live Apo'."
Bolu F-type Prison
In January the İstanbul branch of the human rights organization Mazlum Der announced its report on Bolu F-type Prison. The report stated that isolation had resulted in psychological force and even physical problems. There were problems with visits and phone conversations were restricted to 10 minutes a week.
In September the number of books was restricted on the pretext that the living space for prisoners became too narrow. The cells are built for one or three prisoners and in each cell there is a wardrobe and a table.
Diyarbakır E-type Prison
In March the prisoners İlknur Özden, Güzel Becerikli, Sohbet Yıldız, Yıldız Dündar, Gülümser Yuca and Güler Çelik were punished with a ban on visits for one month. They had asked for wood to burn on Newroz (21 March) and, since this wish had been rejected, they had set old clothes on fire.
In mid-August eight prisoners in Diyarbakır Closed Prison and 10 prisoners in Antep Closed Prison went on hunger strike in protest at the prison situation of Abdullah Öcalan, the Law on Execution of Sentences and the penal code.
Prisoners in Antep Closed Prison who had conducted a hunger strike between 2 July and 15 August with the same demand received bans on visits, letters and phone calls.
Erzurum Closed Prison
In March prisoners in Erzurum Closed Prison issued a statement on living conditions getting worse in prison. The administration had confiscated many blankets arguing that many blankets had "disappeared". The prisoners also complained that medical treatment was either not granted or stopped in the middle of it. Some prisoners had sent a letter to the administration on the penalty of bans on visits and in July they had been punished a second time with bans on visits.
At the beginning of July the Committees of Families of Revolutionary Prisoners (DETAK) declared that on 24 June the cells of female prisoners had been raided under supervision of the prosecutor. The prisoners had been beaten and their belongings had been damaged. The prisoners on hunger strike against the new Law on Execution of Sentences had been punished with bans on letters and visits for 6 months. Serpil Cabadan had started a death fast action in protest at the pressure.
Kahramanmaraş E-type Prison
Six convicts in this prison were indicted with membership of an illegal organization after they signed petitions that they agreed to "the leadership Abdullah Öcalan as being their political will". Reportedly the disciplinary council in that prison issued a ban on phone conversations for one year and visits for three months in November. In return the prisoners started a hunger strike for two days each.
Kandıra F-type Prison
On 3 June the Commission on Letters in the Execution of Sentences Institution prohibited that the journal Masala that the prisoners in Kandıra F-type Prison published be send outside prison. The political content and incitement to death fast actions was given as a reason and Article 68/3 of the Law on Execution of Sentences was cited as the basis for the decision.
The political prisoner Sami Özbil staying in Kandıra F-type Prison No. 1 was not given appendices of the August-September edition of the journal Art and Life (Sanat ve Hayat). Muharrem Demircioğlu, editor of the journal stated that the book "Announcements, Statements of Intellectuals from 1950 to 2005" had been distributed with the journal and although no legal action had been taken against the book it had not been given to the prisoner since it allegedly endangered security.
The 9th Chamber of the Court of Cassation rejected the demand to lift the decision that restricted conversation among prisoners from five to two hours per week. The circular of the Justice Minister of 18 January 2002 and the Law to Fight Terrorism had set the time for conversations among prisoners to five hours, but the director of Kandıra F-type Prison had lowered the time to two hours in January. The Court of Cassation argued that the specific situation and the security had to be observed when programs were prepared for each prison.
Kocaeli F-type Prison
A letter that the prisoner Ümit İlter in Kocaeli F-type Prison received from Turan Tüysüz, deputy from Urfa and member of the Commission for Inspection of Human Rights in the GNAT, was reportedly censored. First the letter had been given to the prisoner who wanted to include a copy to a letter he wanted to send to a friend abroad. This time, the Commission on Letters in the Execution of Sentences Institution did not forward the letter. The commission objected to expressions such as "constant isolation leads to heavy problems of human psychology. harsh rule and arbitrary measure can give reason that prisoners feel hatred against the State, the institutions and the persons in these institutions."
Kürkçüler F-type Prison
In January the social and cultural rights of prisoners in Kürkçüler F-type Prison (Adana) were restricted. The weekly 5 hours for conversation and sports were restricted to 3 hours, the visits were restricted to one hour and soldiers were present during the visits. The prisoners also complained that they could not use the library and that the prices in the canteen were too high.
Lawyer Sedat Özkan stated that in July 65 prisoners had been deprived of all their social rights for one month because they sent an appeal to the prison administration asking for an improvement of the prison conditions of Abdullah Öcalan and an end to military operations. He added that three persons who had been remanded in June had been punished with unlimited isolation because they had sung Kurdish songs.
In September the prisoner Hüseyin Tiryaki sent a letter to the HRA in Adana and complained that he had been forced to stand until all prisoners had been counted. Prisoners who rejected to be counted were beaten in the corridor and punished with isolation.
Malatya Closed Prison
In August the prisoners Hamili Yıldırım, Bülent Atmaca, Ömer Hayri Konar, Hüseyin Sürgeç, Nevzat Üçen, Suat Daştan, Ali Çabuk, Mehmet Yoldaş, Ramazan Demir, Çetin İlkan, İsmail Tüzün, Kahraman Güvenç, Yahya Figan, Mustafa Hıdıri and Hüseyin Yeter were banned from visits for three months. They had issued a press statement on the situation of Abdullah Öcalan.
Mardin E-type Prison
23 prisoners who had protested the situation of Abdullah Öcalan and asked for an end to military operations with a hunger strike between 15 August and 7 September were banned from visits for one month. During the times they were not allowed to use common areas. The names of the prisoners were given as: Ramazan İldem, Mehmet İldem, Ferhan Ay, Salih Atlı, Cuma Tanırğan, Fırat Arzu, İsmet Çandak, Ayhan Bayar, Leşker Acar, Levent Cin, Mehmet Savur, Muhittin Piriçioğlu, Ramazan Özalp, Ahmet İzer, İsmet Aydın, Kamuran Yusuf, Ramazan Çetedir, Halis Geçger, Seyfettin Aydemir, Kenan Erdemir, Sabri Ürek, İsmail Sayır and M. Ali Yaşa. For the same reason Abdullah Oral, Kemal Zengir, Cafer Gül, İkram Gören and M. Nezir Gümüş received the same punishment and were transferred to Bolu F-type Prison.
Sincan F-type Prison
According to a report of the lawyer Mahmut Eldem, the prisoner Mahir Akkaya objected to taking off his shoes during a body search on 13 December 2004. Guardians dragged him over the ground. When his cell-mate Deniz Bakır, suffering from the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, objected he was reportedly beaten.
The disciplinary council in Sincan F-type Prison decided to "destroy" the comic journal "Take it easy" (Vız Gelir) published by prisoners in Sincan F-type Prison. The prisoners Kaan Ünsal and Kamil Karataş wanted to send it to relatives when the council objected to it since it belittled officials and supported death fast actions. The decision was taken on 23 March and included previous editions as well.
On 8 August prisoners' relatives declared that the prisoners from the PKK in Sincan F-type Prison had received a ban of letters for 10 day and for phone calls and visits for 3 months. Lawyer Yekbun Geylani Arslan stated that six prisoners who had been sentenced to life imprisonment had been held in single cells for many days without a special reason.
Sincan F-type Prison No. 2
The prisoners Sabri Yakut, İdris Çalışkan, Teyfik Yaşlı, Hikmet Çalağan, Nidayi Tezel, Çetin Arkaş, Musa Altun, Mehmet Durak and Ali Dalo were transferred from Sincan F-type to Bolu F-type Prison in mid-August after they had refused to receive visitors in protest at the situation of Abdullah Öcalan.
Sivas E-type Closed Prison
Female prisoners in Sivas E-type Prison who had staged a 2-days' hunger strike in protest at the situation of Abdullah Öcalan were given disciplinary punishment of four months. During this time they cannot receive visitors (without supervision), make phone calls, send and receive letter and participate in social and sportive activities.
Tekirdağ F-type Prison
In March the Human Rights Investigation Commission in the GNAT published its report on Tekirdağ F-type Prison- The deputies who prepared the report were: Faruk Ünsal, Hakan Taşçı, Ahmet Koca and Özlem Çerçioğlu. The report suggested that health personnel should be in prison at all times. The working conditions of guardians were described as heavy to the effect that the "mood" of the guardians had a direct effect on the prisoners.
Prisoners from the Democratic Liberation Party (PRD) staged a hunger strike in Tekirdağ F-type Prison No. 2 for three days and were punished with bans on visits and phone calls for six months. The complaint was raised in May. The prisoners added that social activities should be held for five hours a week, but measures of the administration had restricted them to one to two hours per month. The prisoners also demanded a solution to their health problems and asked that the restriction on publications and visits should be lifted.
The poster of Deniz Gezmiş, Yusuf Aslan and Hüseyin İnan, a supplement to the daily Evrensel of 7 May was not given to the prisoners in Tekirdağ F-type Prison. It was stated that the persons on the poster had in the past tried to split the country and the poster could be used for separatist propaganda.
On 30 July 30 prisoners in Tekirdağ F-type Prison started an unlimited hunger strike in protest at the new penal code and the Law on Execution of Sentences. On 31 July their cells were raided and they were taken to Bolu F-type and Tekirdağ F-type Prison No. 2. Memik Horoz, chief editor of the newspaper İşçi-Köylü, was among the prisoners transferred to Bolu.
According to an announcement of TAYAD the prisoners were handcuffed on their backs before transfer. They were not allowed to take their personal belongings with them. The prisoners Sinan Yıldırım, Cemal Ağırman and Ali Ercan Gökoğlu were injured. In Tekirdağ F-type Prison No. 2 the prisoners were held in single cells. They had been beaten when they shouted slogans on 31 July. The prisoners taken to Bolu F-type Prison were: Mehmet Kulaksız, Nurettin Erenler, Erdal Koç, Aslan Bahar, Hüseyin Özen and Taylan Aydoğdu. The prisoners taken to Tekirdağ F-type No. 2 were: Kenan Günyel, Ali Ercan Gökoğlu, Serdar Karaçelik, Tekin Tangün, Mustafa Tosun, Cemal Ağırman, Kaan Kurtuluş, Bülent Kemal Yıldırım, İnan Gök, Barış Ateş, Celal Yayla, Ercan Kutlu, Sinan Yıldırım, Osman Nuri Ocaklı, Ali Koca and Baysal Demirkan.
Tekin Tangün, Ercan Büyüktaş and Taner Korkmaz made a statement on the incident after they had been released from Tekirdağ F-type Prison No. 2 on 3 August- Tekin Tangün said that the guardians had dragged the prisoners out of their cells and put into prison vehicles under beatings. He had only worn underwear and a pajama. Taner Korkmaz said that 30 to 40 guardians had come to his cell and threatened him. The prisoner Kemal Ayhan who had a bad leg had been tortured.
The Association for Support of Prisoners' Families (TUHAD) issued a statement on 9 October to the effect that the prisoners in Tekirdağ F-type Prison No. 2 who had protested the situation of Abdullah Öcalan with a hunger streaks had been banned from free visits for one year and from phone, newspaper and communication for three months. Mehmet Sadık Ekinci who had been released from that prison some time ago said that they had not got hot water for four months. He complained that the prisoners could not communicate with each other. Medical treatment was a great problem and even people with heart problems came back without treatment.
Four years in F-type prisons (Evrensel/ Serpil Savumlu - on 18 and 19 January 2005)Human Rights Association / 1 November Bans on Prisons
Letters from relatives, the prisoners and their lawyers provide examples for needless bans in prison. (Summarized translation)
In Bolu F-type Prison the prisoner Taylan Balataca was not given the underwear relatives had provided because it was in green color said to be the color of the military. Only white and grey underwear is allowed.
In Tekirdağ F-type Prison many publications are not handed over to the prisoners although no legal action had been taken against the journals. In September the journal İşçi-Köylü was not given to the prisoners Bayram Kama, Doğan Akçiçek, Erdinç Yücel, Erkan Altun, Hasan Polat, Hasan Rüzgar, Hasan Şahingöz, Hüseyin Uzundağ, İsmail Yılmaz, Muhamet Akyol, Murat Karayel, Muzaffer Öztürk, F. Oğuz Arslan, Özgür Kabadayı, Resul Kocatürk and Şükrü Duman. The journal Kızıl Bayrak was not given to the prisoners Serdar Serbülent Sürücü, Bayram Kama, Hasan Polat, Ayhan Güngör, Erkan Altun, Şeraffettin Yer, Cemil Erdem, Şükrü Duman, Alaattin Öget and Hüseyin Akın. The journal Yeni Demokrat Gençlik was not given to the prisoners Bayram Kama, Erkan Altun, Erdinç Yücel, Hasan Polat, Hüseyin Uzundağ, Hasan Rüzgar, Hasan Şahingöz, İsmail Yılmaz, Muhammet Akyol, Muzaffer Öztürk, Murat Karayel, Resul Kocatürk, Serdar Serbülent Sürücü, Süleyman Şahin, Şükrü Duman, Özgür Kabadayı, Onur Öztanrıverdi and Veli Özdemir in August. Editin 71 of the journal Devrimci Demokrasi was not given to the prisoners Aydın Bulgucu, Nihat Konak, Süleyman Yılmaz Bulduruç and Veli Özdemir. The same happened to edition 70 of the journal Atılım, edition 17 of the journal Yürüyüş, edition 18 of the journal Azadı and edition 53 of the journal Özgür Gençlik.
- the long list of letters from and to prisoners that were censored or destroyed is not included in the translation
On 18 August the prisoner Nihat Konak should be taken to court, but since he refused to loudly announce his military degree he was not taken to court. The same happened to Şükrü Duman on 13 September.
Muzaffer Öztürk is held in a single cell because he was sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment. Objections against this decision were rejected on all levels, up to Tekirdağ Heavy Penal Court. The objection to this decision of 18 August has not been ended in a verdict yet.
Already in July many journals were not handed over to the prisoners in Tekirdağ F-type Prison and many letters were censored or destroyed.
From Tekirdağ F-type Prison No. 2 the prisoners Baysal Demirhan wrote that he has spent two of his three years in prison in a cell for one person. Every fortnight he would send appeals against this situation but each time his applications were rejected without a reason. In order to listen to the radio Baysal Demirhan had built an antenna from the paper of cigarette boxes but each time the guardians find it they destroy it.
On 14 September the prisoner Memduh Kılıç wrote from Kırıklar F-type Prison No. 1. He stated that he has been imprisoned since 1992. In 1997, while staying in Çankırı Prison, he suffered from tuberculosis. For nine months he was treated with medicine, but when this treatment had no success he underwent an operation by taking away 2/3 of this left lung. A second operation was deemed too risky and Memduh Kılıç was transferred to Kırıklar F-type Prison. His complaints increased and he was taken to hospital again. In Tepecik Chest Hospital he was diagnosed to have mushrooms in his lung. Despite this fact Tepecik Chest Hospital concluded that his illness was not endangering his life.
In June the problems in Tekirdağ F-type Prison 1 had already been the same as in July, August and September. According to the provisions of the Law on Execution of Sentences that entered into force on 1 June the administration wanted to transfer Ali Baba Arı and Hasan Şahingöz to single cells. On the way they were subjected to "physical torture". The same happened to Menderes Leyla. He was given reports by the infirmary and Tekirdağ State Hospital certifying traces of blows.
The prisoners who protested the treatment of Menderes Leyla, Ali Baba Arı and Hasan Şahingöz were banned from communication for one or two months. This includes a ban on "free visits". The prisoners punished this way were Hasan Rüzgar, Şerafettin Yer, Ayhan Güngör, Selahattin Gedik, Ramazan Aydın, Erdal Süsem, Aydın Bulgucu, Özgür Eker, Murat Karayel, Cihat Özdemir, Süleyman Yılmaz Bulduruç, Ali Rıza Kaplan, Aligül Alkaya, Ahmet Doğan, Ongun Yücel, Habib Akkaya, Hasan Ergin, Murtaza Şahin, Muzaffer Öztürk, Bayram Kama, Yaşar Eriş, Süleyman Şahin, Memik Horoz, Nihat Konak, İsmail Yılmaz, Coşkun Akdeniz, Doğan Akçiçek, Hüseyin Uzundağ, Cihan Kahraman, Gökhan Oruç, Caner Uluç, Sinan Gülüm, Fatih Ergin Arpaç, Taylan Baltacı and Muhamet Akyol. (Decision of 15.06.2005 numbered 2005/25)
On 9 April the daily Radikal reported that Mustafa Gök was still imprisoned despite the fact that he had been diagnosed as suffering from the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome. He had participated in a death fast action in 1996 for 69 days and after the 19 December (2000) operation he had been released under the provision of Article 399/2 of the TCPC. On 14 February 2004 he had been detained again and in his trial (hearing at İstanbul Heavy Penal Court No. 11 on 8 April) the Court had now decided to get another medical report of the Forensic Institute.
- The report of the HRA made reference to this case but unfortunately without exact dates
Instead of the remarks of the HRA on conscientious objector Mehmet Tarhan the report on his situation of Amnesty International of 9 December 2005 "Turkey: Conscientious objector Mehmet Tarhan is a Prisoner of Conscience and must be released now!" (AI Index: EUR 44/036/2005) is quoted:Medical Neglect of Prisoners
On 4 January families of TAYAD held a press conference at the office of İstanbul Medical Association and presented the following information on the health of prisoners:
"In Tekirdağ F-type Prison the treatment of Orhan Eski suffering from paralysis of his face was delayed. In Kandıra F-type Prison the tools to measure the diabetes were not bought. The psychological treatment for Tahsin Akgün staying in Tekirdağ F-type Prison was not finished when he was transferred to Bayrampaşa. In Kırıklar Prison Sebahattin Filazoğlu does not receive the necessary care after an operation."
On 2 January members of the Union of Opponents to Isolation and the Law on Execution of Sentences stated that Filiz Gülkokuer (Gebze M-type), Mesut Deniz (Sincan F-type), Savaş Kör (Bayrampaşa) and Ersin Eroğlu (Kırşehir Prison) were so ill that they should not be imprisoned. The members of the Union pointed at Erol Zavar, former editor-in-chief of the journal Odak, who had to be under constant control in Edirne F-type Prison because he was suffering from cancer of his bladder.
On 27 February the daily Özgür Politika reported on Şemsettin Kurz in Bayrampaşa Prison on charges of being a member of KADEK. Because he was not treated his cancer of the lung reportedly got worse. Şemsettin Kurt had been imprisoned between 1992 and 1997 on similar charges and on 10 October 2003 he had been imprisoned again. During a hearing of 14 February İstanbul Heavy Penal Court No. 14 had decided to continue the proceedings without pre-trial detention.
In April Şafak Yıldız, lawyer of Erol Zavar, filed an official complaint against physicians and the administration of the hospital of the medical faculty in Edirne. The lawyer said that besides suffering from cancer of the bladder her client had got platinum in a broken leg and the piece had not been removed. Only when they appealed for treatment in Ankara the physicians had agreed to remove the piece of platinum.
In June the lawyer Yasemin Dora Şeker drew attention to the critical health of Mehmet Emin Özkan (66) in Kürkçüler Prison (Adana). He had been imprisoned since 1996 and was suffering from prostate, heavy breathing, insufficiency of his heart and high tension. She had applied to the State President and the Justice Minister, but had had no success and, therefore, had presented the case to the European Court of Human Rights.
In Adana the political prisoner in Kürkçüler Prison, Adem Aşan, was reportedly chained to his bed during treatment in Adana State Hospital. His mother Caziye Aşan stated that her son had to be treated with a dialysis machine. He had been detained on 24 March when he visited a private hospital and later had been remanded. Now he had to be taken to Adana State Hospital three times a week. "Earlier they only handcuffed one arm. Now both arms are handcuffed. In addition they tie his legs to the bed. During the treatment it may happen that he gets a cramp, but the commander refused to loosen the legs. When my son said that he better kill him instead of making him suffer such pain the commander said that he should because he was ill anyhow."
Güler Bilen, imprisoned in Sivas E-type Prison on charges of membership of the PKK, was not treated for problems with her heart valve for four years. In August the doctors in prison stopped the treatment stating that recovery was impossible under prison conditions. Her uncle Şehmus Şimşek applied to the State President, the Justice Minister and the HRA in Adana.
In October female prisoners in Sivas E-type Prison complained that ill prisoners were not treated. Aynur Epli had to undergo an operation and Hatice Çakmak was not treated although she had been ill for a long tome.
Also in October Mehmet Kino and Deniz Yüksel who had been remanded in Mardin E-type Prison for two months complained that the prisoners were not treated and the physician in the infirmary did not examine the patients but distributed pills that had strong side effects. The former prisoners also complained about bad food.
(Cumhuriyet-19 October) Oral Çalışlar/Column "Point Zero" /Prisons and humansRelatives of Prisoners
On 6 April Trabzon Penal Court No. 1 started to hear the case of TAYAD members who had been attacked in a lynch attempt when the distributed leaflets about Trabzon Prison. Zeynep Ertuğrul, Nurgül Acar, Emre Batur and İhsan Özdil were charged with insulting officials on duty and staging an illegal demonstration. On 23 June the defendants testified and stated that the incident had been provoked by the police.
Zeynep Ertuğrul said that she had been there as a journalist of Ekmek ve Adalet. There had been no demonstration because the others had only distributed a special bulletin of TAYAD.
"They distributed the bulletin at different places. Two police officers asked whether the action was legal and that they were not sure whether this might be an action of the PKK. These words provoked the people around. While the friends tried to explain that it was a legal action some 15 to 20 people beat them. A person with the name of Ergün Kara pointed at me and accused me of being a member of the PKK. He hit me twice and the others hit me too. There were many plain clothed detectives around, but they did not interfere, the traffic police did."
Another hearing was held on 9 September. The trial did not conclude in 2005.
On 15 April TAYAD members protested the incidents in Trabzon and Adapazarı by chaining themselves to the GNAT. The police detained them. On 16 April Deniz Arık, Nurşen Toksoy and Didem Akman were remanded.
Ali Akpınar, father of Hüseyin Akpınar in Tekirdağ F-type Prison and suffering from the Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, complained that he could not visit his son, because he could not pass the x-ray because of a battery to his heart. On 31 March he had shown the medical report and asked the persons on duty to search him with their hands but they had refused him entry to prison.
On 4 June the police in Adıyaman intervened when a group of members of the Association of Basic Rights and Freedoms wanted to hold a press conference in front of the office of AKP in protest at the pressure in the prisons. The police detained Yılmaz Kaya, Erhan Yücel, Servet Yücel, Nevzat Bozkurt, Nihal Çalışkan, Ali Yasacı, Ali Kaçak and Adnan Demirhan.
In Batman İslam Koyuncu and Mehmet Gidici, officials of the prisoners' support association TUHAY-DER were released from prison on 3 May. They had been remanded after having participated in a protest at the measures against Abdullah Öcalan.
On 28 June 11 members of two prisoners' support associations (TUHAY-DER and TUAD) were detained after a press conference in front of Tekirdağ F-type Prison.
The Socialist Platform of the Oppressed (ESP) staged an action on the Bosphorous Bridge on 1 November to draw attention to the situation in the prisons. The police intervened and detained Emine Güngör, Ağca Kaplan, Tuğba Gümüş, Arzu Baysungur, Güneş Şenyüz, İbrahim Uçar, Fırat Çağla, Cengiz Özgül, Hüseyin Güneş, Emrullah Avcı and Abbas Duman.
On 27 November members of the ESP visited the grave of Tuncay Yıldırım in Çanakkale. He had died in a death fast action on 21 March 2002. The police detained 25 persons including the İzmir representative of the journal Atılım, İsminaz Ergün under beatings.
Court cases on Incidents in Prison
Çanakkale E-type Prison
On 5 January the trial against 154 prisoners and 563 security officers charged in connection with the 19 December 2000 operation in Çanakkale E-type Prison continued at Çanakkale Heavy Penal Court No. 1.
During the hearing 15 members of the fire squad were heard as witnesses. One of them, Necat Yılmaz said: "It should have been the last day of the operation. The governor, the chief prosecutor and the general on duty went inside towards the coal room. One police officer who was filming said that someone inside had a weapon. At this moment one window was broken and I heard shots. One police officer who changed his place was hit. After that two more shots were fired."
During the hearing lawyer Behiç Aşçı said that the images on the CD they had received during an earlier hearing did not show everything. The witnesses had made clear that the police headquarters also filmed the scene. Aşçı demanded that the films be ordered as evidence and asked that Hikmet Sami Türk, at the time Minister of Justice, be heard as witness. This demand was rejected.
During the hearing of 2 February the defendant Yıldız Bağuç (not remanded) said: "The operation started at 4am. We barricaded the doors with beds and wardrobes. On the first day the wards were hosed with water and foam. On the second day they used heavy machines to break down the walls and roofs. I heard Fidan Kalşen saying that she would burn herself if the security forces entered. Then she set herself on fire. On the third day I was hit with a bomb thrown from the roof and was temporarily paralyzed."
Lawyer Behiç Aşçı demanded that an on-site inspection should be held and further evidence such as phone or walkie-talkie conversations should be obtained and Hikmet Sami Türk be heard as witness. The demands were rejected. The Court ordered the release of Muharrem Güzel, Ali Osman Köse, Ali Rıza Seçik, Hülya Aydoğan, Günay Eren, Mehmet Karaman and Veysel Şahin so that no defendant remained in pre-trial detention related to this trial.
Further hearings were held on 22 September and 29 November. The last hearing was adjourned to 7 February 2006.
Diyarbakır E-type Prison
On 26 January Diyarbakır Heavy Penal Court No. 3 continued to hear the case of 72 defendants (1 physician, 6 guardians, 36 police officers and 29 soldiers) charged in connection with the attack on prisoners on 24 September 1996 that had resulted in the death of 10 of them.
In summing up the case the prosecutor stated that the defendants had exceeded the limits of self defense and caused the death of 10 people. Under Article 452/1 TPC he demanded sentences of 8 years' imprisonment for 54 defendants for having caused the death of the prisoners, but he also asked to reduce the sentences by half because the offence had been committed under heavy provocation. The prosecutor asked for acquittal of two security officers and for the other defendants including the physician he argued that the statute of limitation had been reached. They were accused of no direct involvement in the killing.
Acting for the sub-plaintiffs lawyer Sezgin Tanrıkulu said during 47 hearings so far the panel had changed 20 times and that it was time to reach a verdict. The hearing of 20 April was adjourned to 6 June to wait for new legislation entering into force.
After a further hearing in January 2006 Diyarbakır Heavy Penal Court No. 3 announced its verdict on 27 February 2006. The Court acquitted three defendants and decided on the statute of limitation for seven defendants. A total of 62 defendants were sentenced to five years' imprisonment, but since the offence was committed before 1999 none of them will have to serve that sentence.
On 28 January Eyüp (İstanbul) Penal Court No. 3 held a hearing on 167 prisoners, 31 of them women, charged with rioting during the 19 December 2000 operation. During the hearing of 17 June the Court decided to hold an on-site inspection. The inspection was carried out on 23 September. At the pipe of the heating system and the door to ward C traces of shots were detected. During the inspection defendants Münire Demirel stated that the operation began at 4.45am when they heard shots and heavy machines. From the roof soldiers had been firing at them and thrown gas bombs. The defendant Fazıl Ahmet Taner said that after the call to surrender they had not been given any time. The other defendants confirmed that no warning had been made before the shots had been fired. They added that two weeks before the operation there had been a search in the prison and there had been no arms inside.
During the hearing on 28 October the defendants Mehmet Güvel, Sevgi Tağaç, Yıldıray Alanbay, Erkan Erdem and Fatma Güzel testified. Sevgi Tağaç said that she could not have surrendered since she already was in a prison and the door to the outside had been closed. They had rescued themselves by moving downstairs since shots and bombs had come from the roof.
On 4 October Eyüp Heavy Penal Court No. 3 continued to hear the case of 1,615 officers on duty, 1,440 of them soldiers of the gendarmerie. They had participated in the 19 December 2000 operation in Bayrampaşa Prison. The Court issued orders for apprehension on 155 guardians who had not yet testified.
Ankara Central Closed Prison
On 17 March Ankara Heavy Penal Court No. 6 continued to hear the case of 161 soldiers charged in connection with the attack of 26 September 1996. Cenker Aslan who had been in that prison at the time was heard as witness. The charges in this case that did not conclude in 2005 are related to 5 of the 10 killed prisoners being the victim of the soldiers and the other five prisoners having allegedly been killed by other prisoners.
On 27 January Üsküdar Heavy Penal Court No. 2 continued to hear the case against 276 security officers charged in connection with the 19 December 2000 operation in Ümraniye Prison. Members of TAYAD were not allowed to attend the hearing as observers. During the hearing the defendants Sadık Düzgün, Mehmet Çamcı, Gazi Duran and Erol Vuran were heard. Sadık Düzgün stated that they had followed orders given to them over walkie-talkie. They had not been armed and not used arms.
During the hearing of 29 April the witness Muhlise Güneş said that they had been subjected to assault and violence when they were taken out of the prison and in the vehicle.
On 12 December Üsküdar Heavy Penal Court No. 1 continued to hear the case of 399 former prisoners in connection with the incidents in Ümraniye Prison on 19 December 2000. The Court issued order for apprehension of those defendants whose testimony had not been taken.
On 30 March the prosecutor's office in Burdur decided against charges on 415 soldiers of the gendarmerie who had participated in the operation in Burdur Prison on 5 July 2000. In the decision not to prosecute anyone it was said that the soldiers entered the prison because the prisoners refused to leave their wards when they were asked to testify on charges originating from İzmir State Security Court. The prisoners had refused because they had not been able to talk to their lawyers. The prosecutor further argued that the passive resistance had changed to active resistance when the soldiers entered the prison. In order to prevent casualties the security forces had only opened one hole in the wall. The arm of Veli Saçılık had been torn off because of his aggressiveness, according to the prosecutor's decision. On the allegation of rape of Azime Arzu Torun the report of the prosecutor stated that there was no evidence in the file to support this allegation.
In February the expert opinion on the request of Veli Saçılık for compensation from the Justice Ministry, the Ministry for the Interior and the Health Ministry for losing his right arm during the operation in Burdur Prison was announced. The report concluded that Veli Saçılık had lost two thirds of his ability to work and should be compensated with 121,240 YTL. The report also stated that Veli Saçılık was not responsible for losing one arm. In June Antalya Administrative Court decided that the Justice and the Ministry for the Interior have to pay compensation of 100,000 YTL in material and 50,000 YTL in moral damage.
The Küçükarmutlu Trial
In February the Court of Cassation quashed the verdict against 16 defendants charged in connection with a police operation against a house in Küçükarmutlu where several people conducted a death fast action. The police operation of 5 November 2001 had resulted in the death of four people (Arzu Güler, Sultan Yıldız, Bülent Durga and Barış Kaş). The Court of Cassation ruled that the defendants could not be sentenced as members but only as supporters of an illegal organization.
On 25 February 2004 İstanbul State Security Court had sentenced Zeki Doğan, Sinan Tökü, Güzin Tolga, Eylem Göktaş, Ahmet Güzel, Gamze Turan, Vedat Çelik, Selma Kubat, Dursun Ali Pekin, Halil Aksu, Haydar Bozkurt, Hakkı Şimşek, Hüseyin Akpınar, Madımak Özen and Serap Boyoğlu to 12 years' and 6 months' imprisonment for membership of an illegal organization. The files of Serhat Ertürk, Özkan Güzel, Halil Acar and Engin Karagöz had been separated.
On 10 June İstanbul Heavy Penal Court No. 14 started the re-trial of (now) 19 defendants. The trial did not conclude in 2005.
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