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Concerns About Risk Of Isolation In Turkish Prison

Turkey: Concerns About Risk Of Isolation In Turkish Prisons

* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International *

28 November 2000 EUR 44/065/2000 225/00

Amnesty International wrote to the Turkish authorities on 27 November 2000, to express its concern about solitary confinement and small group isolation in Turkey.

Amnesty International believes that prolonged isolation including small group isolation may have serious effects on the physical and mental health of prisoners and may constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. It can also facilitate torture and ill-treatment of prisoners.

Amnesty International is concerned about reports that regimes of solitary confinement and small group isolation are being practised in Kartal Special Type Prison. The organization believes that these regimes might be extended to the planned F-Type prisons.

The Turkish authorities are constructing F-Type prisons as an alternative to the crowded dormitories in many of the present prisons.

Some 800 prisoners in the Turkish prisons, charged or convicted of politically motivated offences, continue their hunger strike in protest among other things against the construction of these F-Type prisons and the possible imposition of a regime of isolation. The general health of the prisoners on hunger strike is reportedly deteriorating. They suffer from vomiting, dizziness, gastric bleeding, walking problems and low blood pressure.

The reasons for the protest in many aspects coincide with concerns Amnesty International has raised repeatedly with successive Turkish governments.

The lives of these prisoners is at risk as the hunger strike has entered its 39th day, and some 40 prisoners have converted their hunger strike into a death fast since the 19 November.

According to a report released by a delegation which visited the construction site of Sincan F-Type Prison in July 2000, the conditions in this type of prison may not comply with international standards for access to natural air and light in cells and appropriate access by prisoners to exercise in the open air.

Amnesty International urges the Turkish government to ensure that all prisoners, including prisoners convicted for political offences, are treated in compliance with international standards. Prisoners should be given an adequate period of time each day during which they can associate with other prisoners outside the confines of their cells or dormitories and adequate exercise facilities.

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