"Isolation Kills - Close down F Type Prisons" is the title of a campaign initiated by the Human Rights Association (İHD) Istanbul Branch Prisons Commission for the closure of F-Type Prisons.
The İHD campaign draws attention to rights violations and systematic solitary confinement imposed on convicts with aggravated life sentences since the transition to F type prisons on 19 December 2000.
Furthermore, the campaign aims to show the situation of hundreds of sick convicts who fell ill with terminal diseases due to unhealthy conditions in F type prisons and who are waiting for medical treatment. The campaign is based on three pillars:
Isolation in F type prisons and its effects: Convicts with an aggravated life sentence live on their own in an eight-square-metre room until they die. They cannot talk to any other convict. They are allowed to see their families once a fortnight for the duration of one hour. These applications cause physiologic and psychological damage.
Rights violations in prisons: Applied disciplinary penalties, torture and ill-treatment, sanctions related to visits, communication and the cell. Convicts are being exiled to remote provinces and hence their families are being afflicted too.
Unhealthy living conditions and ill prisoners: Cells are damp with unhealthy conditions on eight to twelve square metres. Kitchen, bathroom and living room are crammed together in a small space. The heating system is not operated in winter; hot water is available for one hour on two days per week. Drinking water is not hygienic. Food is of bad quality and insufficient. Access to the right to health is difficult; terminally and severely ill convicts are not being released.
The İHD announced that 258 ill convicts, 100 of whom are severely ill, are incarcerated in Turkish prisons as of 2011. Based on data of the Ministry of Health, the President of the Diyarbakır Medical Chamber, Dr. Şemsettin Koç, announced that 913 convicts died as the result of diseases in prisons between 2000 and 2010.
The campaign is going to be launched with a gala at the Taksim Hill Hotel in Istanbul on Tuesday (10 January) evening. The event also includes an exhibition of photographs taken in prison cells by artists, deputies, writers and intellectuals.
The İHD Istanbul Branch Prisons Commission is going to carry out sit-down protests in different places in Istanbul every Saturday. The protestors will be dressed all in black. Demonstrations, sit-down protests and the photo exhibition will be continued until the demonstration at Istiklal Avenue (Istanbul) on 2 April.
List of forbidden items in F type prisons
The magazine of the İHD Istanbul Branch Prisons Commission included a "list of forbidden items in F type prisons" in a special issue of their magazine. The list was compiled by convict Hasan Şahingöz who is serving his aggravated life sentence at the Tekirdağ F Type Prison. The list below is not exhaustive but highlights a number of examples.
Among the things forbidden in F type prisons are having more than one glass of tea or water in the cell at a time, , typewriters, computers, fountain pens, ink, any kinds of painting materials, bookshelves, any kind of lighting, any kind of heating devices or having more than one blanket at a time.
Activities forbidden are for example singing Turkish folk songs or marches and shouting slogans; establishing an archive; cooking food; putting up pictures, photographs or calendars; writing or drawing on the wall; raising plants.
Moreover, the convicts are not allowed to establish any communication with other prisoners or to greet, shake hands or hug any family member they might see on their ways to and from court, hospital, infirmary or law offices.
The convicts have to apply in writing to go to the infirmary, borrow a book, have a hair cut or repair certain items such as watches or televisions. Magazines, newspapers, books etc not requested by a written petition cannot be obtained and read respectively.
Books, magazines, newspapers or letters sent or received by a convict are being checked by the personnel at the library, education unit and letter reading commission. Nevertheless, block wardens check the entire material once more.
It is not allowed to write poems, writings, articles or books or draw pictures or caricatures that are not deemed suitable by the prison administration or to send them outside the prison. (AS/VK)
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