Reports of torture in Turkish prisons have been on the rise, especially since last July’s coup attempt. Another report from the newly built Van T type prison emerged recently when lawyer Baris Oflas went to meet his clients at the prison.
According to Oflas, on 23 January, the prison’s vice-director raided a 5-person dormitory together with a group of 20 wardens and tortured prisoners Sahin Encu, Kemal Kahraman, Hakan Bilekci, Ahmet Celik and Ozhan Ceyhun, who were then exiled to separate prisons.
“Prison wardens were told over the tannoy to remain in their positions in the evening. That night the vice-director and around 20 wardens raided the dormitory. Referring to an infamous torturer he told them ‘I am going to be your Esat Oktay. You must defer to me. I am the God here,'” Oflas reported.
Prisoners taken to area without cameras
The prisoners were initially beaten in front of cameras, however realising this the vice-director ordered the wardens to take the men to an area without surveillance, Oflas said.
“This order can be deduced by lip-reading the footage. The 5 prisoners were taken to an area underneath the stairwell and beaten severely.”
Prisoners not given medical reports
The lawyer also stated that the prisoners had been thrown in isolation cells following the torture, with some suffering concussion. “They were taken to the local hospital but doctors refused to give them medical reports confirming the torture,” Oflas told Kurdish media.
Prisoners exiled to other prisons
According to the lawyer the prisoners were not provided with clothes, sanitation products or knives and forks. “The prisoners were taken out of solitary confinement after other convicts threatened action. We don’t know where the prisoners have been exiled to,” Oflas said.
Humanity is being treaded on
The lawyer added that they had written a complaint report but that it had not been given to the prison prosecutor. “We are going to file a criminal complaint against the prison authorities, the doctors who didn’t provide medical reports and everyone responsible for this human right’s abuse. The vice-director is leading a group of torturers that want to emulate Esat Oktay. They are treading on humanity but we will do everything to stop them.”
Turkey’s Human Rights Association released a report in October detailing hundreds of cases of torture and human right’s violations between 15 July and 15 October.
Turkish authorities have denied torture claims in all cases. However strong evidence such as videos and photos have emerged of incidences of torture, especially following the coup attempt.
Esat Oktay Yildiran was a Turkish military officer appointed to Diyarbakir prison following the 1980 coup in Turkey. He has been accused of torturing hundreds of Kurdish and leftist prisoners, leading to the death of more than 30 prisoners between 1981-84.