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An incarcerated lawyer from the Progressive Jurists' Association (ÇHD) and the People's Law Office, Şükriye Erden, expressed in her letter to bianet that they would not be wearing prison uniforms.
Erden, along with another woman lawyer Didem Ünsal, has been behind bars at Karabük T-Type Prison since September 21, 2017.
A total of 27 lawyers are under arrest just from ÇHD, the Law Office of the Oppressed, and Libertarian Jurists Platform (ÖHP). Although the lawyers were all tried for cases filed in Istanbul, they were sent to prisons in different parts of the country.
"Struggle to acquire rights, and then to protect them..."
Erden too was sent to Silivri Prison when she was first arrested, and then transferred to Karabük with Ünsal.
In her letter to bianet, she asserted that they "will never accept the uniform dress code and never wear the prison uniform":
"You find that the rights you fought years to acquire stopped being your rights overnight and turned into sanctions. In this sense, "acquired rights" carry no meaning in prisons. Once you acquire a right, you are then put in a position where you have to struggle to protect it."
Şükriye Erden recalled that prison uniforms had been required following the September 12 coup d'etat, but that this practice had been abolished upon being met with resistance.
"Prison uniforms are an affront to inmates' political identities and honor. They are geared toward alienating, de-personalizing, and militarizing inmates. Therefore, no matter what the context, even when we are going to a hearing, we will not wear them."
By statutory decree no.696 prepared under the State of Emergency was published on the Official Gazette on December 24, 2017.
By statutory decree no.696, “those who are convicted or arrested due to the crimes committed within the scope of Anti-Terror Law will be imposed obligation to wear dresses given by the penal institution while they are taken outside the penal institution”.
Within this scope, this provision or article will be enforced for those who were convicted or arrested of the charges falling under Turkish Penal Code’s chapter entitled “Crimes Against Constitutional Order and Operations of This Order”.
According to the decree, the aforementioned provision won’t be enforced to children and pregnant women.
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