Call to CPT: Prisons have turned into torture houses

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  • 10:25 19 January 2022
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ANKARA - Making international contacts regarding the isolation and the situation of the ill prisoners, HDP's Hişyar Özsoy said: "Prisons have turned into torture houses. We will take on the role of encouraging the CPT to come as soon as possible.”
Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Foreign Relations Commission is holding talks in Europe regarding the increasing violations of rights in Turkish prisons, the situation of ill prisoners and the aggravated isolation in Imrali Prison. Sharing the reports they prepared with international organizations, HDP officials will continue to work on increasing deaths in prisons, the situation of ill prisoners and ensuring that Turkey takes a step in this matter.
European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) planned to visit Turkey in 2022. CPT which came to Turkey in 2021, visited different prisons and shared that it held talks with Turkish officials. However the details of the report of CPT regarding the prisons in Turkey was not announced.
HDP Foreign Relations Commission Co-Spokesperson Hisyar Özsoy, who has been holding talks in the international arena regarding the increasing violations of rights and deaths in prisons, made evaluations to Mesopotamia Agency (MA).
Stating that the violations of rights in prisons have increased with the pandemic, Özsoy said that they have met with CPT officials many times about the violations of rights imposed in prisons, especially in İmralı. Emphasizing that there has been an increase in international concerns regarding İmralı recently and that the CPT is aware of this situation, Özsoy said, “Concerns of the CPT have increased. The CPT does not procedurally say when it will come visit the prisons. But they must come as soon as possible. As HDP, we prepared 5 reports during the pandemic. We sent the final report at the beginning of January."
Noting that they have added ill prisoners and violations in prisons to their contacts regarding the isolation in private Imrali, Özsoy said, "Aysel Tuğluk's health condition is getting worse. She is not the only ilk prisoner in Turkish prisons, there are 1.600 ill prisoners held in prisons. Too many people lost their lives in prison in December. Things are getting worse by the day. The prisons in Turkey have become torture houses eating prisoners alive. Political prisoners are left for dead in prisons. There are also allegations of suicides. The prison authorities claim some political prisoners have committed suicide while the families and lawyers of these prisoners say that these prisoners could not have committed suicide. We can say that prisons have turned into houses of horror, torture and death."
Reminding that the CPT is an body of the Council of Europe, Özsoy added that visits to Turkey should be made as soon as possible. Emphasizing that it is not enough to just prepare a report as a result of the visits, and that a sanction is needed to be imposed in order to remedy the violations in these reports, Özsoy said: “CPT reports basically say some of what we say. They don't address all of the issues but they address the basic issues and point to their solutions. But the government is ignoring the CPT's suggestions. However, besides the official institutions of which Turkey is a member of, such as the Council of Europe and the CPT, we asked for support from Kurdish-friendly MPs in the European Parliament. We will also ask for the support of all the structures we are in contact with.”
Emphasizing that violations of rights in prisons should be eliminated, Özsoy said, “As the political tension in Turkey increases and Turkey is insisting on a military solution to the Kurdish question, more people in prisons are targeted by the state. Prisoners are not considered to be prisoners or convicts, but as enemies to be avenged. We will take on the role of encouraging the CPT to come as soon as possible."
Underlining that the main responsibility lies with the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (EC), Özsoy said, “The CPT is a technical body. Like the CPT, there is the Venice Commission. The Venice Commission focuses on the compatibility of the law and the Constitution of the member states of the EC with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). They prepare and present their reports. They have no enforcement authority. It is the EC itself that must enforce the CPT's decisions. Court decisions and reports should be implemented by Turkey. If it is not implemented as a member country, there must be some mechanisms to enforce it. The EC Parliamentary Assembly and the EC Committee of Ministers have come to the point where they are debating Turkey's membership. European Council must speak to Turkey clearly. Turkey sets an example for other countries about not complying with the EC decisions. It will turn into an empty institution that does not have influence on any country. If a reasonable step is not taken by Turkey, relations between the Council and Turkey will be strained in 2022."
MA /  Berivan Altan

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