UA 376/91 - Turkey: fear of torture / health concern: Mahmut Aktas, Mustafa Karasu, Sabri Ok, Mehmet Can Yuce, Halil Kaya, Riza Altun, Celalettin Can, Feridun Yilmaz, Coskun Alicli, Birol Saman, Fevzi Isik, Selahattin Simsek, Sadrettin Kizilkayin, Deniz T
EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: EUR 44/148/91
UA 376/91 Fear of Torture/Health Concern 7 November 1991
Mehmet Can Yüce
Sadrettin K_z_lkay_n, lawyer
Deniz Teztel (female), journalist
Hatice Temel (female)
Hatice Suna (female)
Songül Özdemir (female)
and about 190 other political prisoners
Following the escape of two political prisoners from Ankara Central Closed Prison on 29
October 1991, the authorities have begun to move political prisoners from all over Turkey
to Eski_ehir Special Type Prison where allegedly they have been ill-treated upon arrival
and are now being held in conditions of extreme social isolation. By 5 November, around
200 left-wing political prisoners, some convicted and some still on trial or awaiting trial,
were reported to have been transferred to Eski_ehir Special Type Prison where they have
begun hunger-strikes in protest.
Fourteen lawyers travelled to Eski_ehir to see their clients, but only five were
permitted to enter. One lawyer interviewed five of his clients. They all told the same
story: that they had not been ill-treated during the journey, but that immediately after
entering the main gate their clothes were torn off, they were blindfolded and had most
of their belongings taken away. The men had their heads shaved by force and all were severely
beaten with sticks and truncheons while being taken to their cells. Lawyers noted that
most prisoners received injuries to back and legs, but generally not to the face. Lawyers
also saw clothing scattered around the entrance to the prison.
According to the reports received:
- Mahmut Akta_, brought on Sunday from Gaziantep Special Type Prison, had very severe
bruising on the back. In addition he had been suffering from meningitis and has not been
permitted access to a doctor.
- Mustafa Karasu, brought from Bursa Special Type Prison, had blood in his urine resulting
from the beating, as well as serious wounds on the back and face.
- Sabri Ok, brought from Gaziantep Special Type Prison, had difficulty walking as a result
of beating - the exact nature of his injuries is not known.
page 2 of UA 376/91
- Mehmet Can Yüce, brought from Canakkale E-Type Prison, had no clothes on at the interview;
the lawyer gave him his jacket.
- Feridun Y_lmaz, brought from Ankara Central Closed Prison, had a fractured skull and
- Haldun Karyol, brought from Bart_n E-Type Prison, had broken ribs and shoulder.
- Co_kun Al_çl_, brought from Ankara Central Closed Prison, had a broken nose and was
Halil Kaya, R_za Altun, Celalettin Can, Birol _aman and Fevzi I__k also received injuries.
In April 1991, new legislation, the so-called "Anti-Terror Law", was introduced. Under
Article 16, any prisoner standing trial or convicted under the provisions of this new law
is to be held in extreme conditions of solitary confinement.
The "Special Type Prison" in Eski_ehir, one of some 40 prisons previously built for
political prisoners, was converted to the requirements of the Anti-Terror Law. This prison
has now a capacity for 252 prisoners in one-person cells, and 60 in three-person cells.
Each one-person cell measures eight square metres and has a toilet, hot water, television
and a separate exercise space of similar size. Three-person cells cover 25 square metres
each and are arranged in a block of 20 giving out onto an exercise yard which each group
will use at a separate time. Meals will not be taken communally but will be brought to
the cells. Under the provisions of the law, prisoners may be held for up to 33 years in
these conditions of isolation.
The dangers of prolonged isolation (including small-group isolation) for the physical
and mental health of prisoners are generally recognized. Marked symptoms of severe isolation
found in prisoners who were held in solitary confinement and small-group isolation in the
Federal Republic of
Germany included disturbances of the autonomic nervous system (the system responsible for
the response of the body to the environment) - for example
very low blood pressure and circulation problems, severe problems of the digestive tract
and sleep disturbances. Disturbances relating to the intellectual capabilities of prisoners
included severe concentration problems, articulation problems and, in extreme cases,
hallucinatory symptoms. Emotional disturbances led to depressive reactions, with ultimately
Discussions with penal experts lead Amnesty International to conclude that it is
possible to combine security with humane treatment and that the regime laid down by the
Anti-Terror Law would almost certainly result in damage to the mental and physical health
of the prisoners. In such cases it would, therefore, constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment, prohibited by international human rights treaties to which Turkey
is a State Party.
page 3 of UA 376/91
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/faxes/express and airmail letters:
(If it is felt that four recommended actions are too long for telegrams or faxes, please
do not let this deter you from sending them, but only raise the first three recommendations.
The fourth can be left for inclusion in letters only.)
- calling for an immediate, thorough and independent investigation into the alleged
- asking that all those injured during the transfer are given prompt medical attention;
- appealing that the prisoners held in Eski_ehir Special Type Prison including those
named above should not be subjected to the conditions of severe isolation provided for
by Article 16 of the Anti-Terror Law;
- urging that immediate consideration be given to the repeal of Article 16 of the
Minister of Justice:
Prof. Dr. Suat Bilge Dear Minister
06659 Ankara, Turkey
Telegrams: Adalet Bakanligi, Ankara, Turkey
Faxes: +90 4 125 40 66
Minister of the Interior:
Mr Sabahattin Çakmako_lu Dear Minister
06644 Ankara, Turkey
Telegrams: Interior Minister, Ankara, Turkey
Telexes: 46369 ICSL TR
Faxes: + 90 4 118 1795
COPIES TO: - Diplomatic representatives of Turkey in your country;
President of Parliamentary Human
Mr Eyüp A__k
_nsan Haklar_ Ara_t_rma Komisyonu Ba_kan_
Faxes: + 90 4 11 91 664
+ 90 4 42 06 941
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your section
office, if sending appeals after 18 December 1991.
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