Children's Situation in Diyarbakır Prison is "Desperate"

A province human rights delegation has called for drastic improvements in conditions for children in prison in Diyarbakır.

The Human Rights board attached to the Diyarbakır Governor's Office visited the Diyarbakır E-type prison to monitor the situation of the children held there.

Unannounced visits not allowed

A delegation of three people met with the children and the prison management on 3 April. Internationally, such visits are made unannounced in order to be able to identify human rights violations. However, the delegation wrote that it was only given permission to visit two and a half months after their application, and that unannounced visits had been obstructed.

According to prison manager İsmail Gül, there are 23 "political" detained and convicted children in prison, and 94 other children.

The children have said that because the delegation was coming, the prison had been cleaned and new bedclothes had been handed out.

Severe neglect

Nevertheless, the delegation has written in its report:

"Because the children are washing their clothes by hand, they are not clean. The beds are old, dirty and contain several bacteria. The tables are not hygienically clean, and because the children wash their dishes in an unhygienic environment (on the bathroom floor), this brings serious health problems."

There is no prison doctor. According to the manager, a doctor comes once a week, and an ambulance is called for emergencies. In general, children are transferred to hospital "if the gendarmerie is not busy on that day."

The delegation noted that one child had had a detached finger stitched back on, but that the stitches had not been removed for three months. Another child had cuts on his head and hands. He said that they had been stitched six days earlier, but that the wounds had not been bandaged since his detention.

Children denied medical treatment

The children reported negligent treatment:

"When we did sports, I fell to the ground, and my knee swelled up and hurt. I asked the guards to take me to the doctor. They looked at my knee and said, 'There's nothing urgent there' and did not take me." (Dr. Cengiz Günay from the delegation found sensitivity and an edema in the knee).

"The duty doctor said that I had varicosis in my legs and he wrote a transfer not for me to be sent to hospital. I  have not been taken to hospital for five weeks."

"At night I wet myself, I told the guards, but they don't take me to the doctor's."

"I have got asthma, but they don't take me to hospital. Sometimes I have palpitations, as if my heart is going to stop, then I think I will die. The doctor told me that I have panic attacks. When I have breating difficulties, they don't take me to hospital, they just want me to use my medication."

"My eye is itching. I asked a guard to take me to the doctor's. The guard said there was no doctor and that I would have to wait until Thursday. After that my eye started to swell up. (The delegation found a medical problem with the eye).

Other findings

The delegation further noted:

Discrimination: Compared to the other children, the "political" detainees and convicts are given less hot water for a shorter time.

Kurdish media ban: Kurdish and other legal media is banned, including certain local channels. This is a serious violation of the right to receiving news.

Transfers with handcuffs and violence: When the children are taken to the court, they say that they face psychological and physical violence. Using handcuffs on children is also a serious violation.

The delegation called for an immediate improvement in prison conditions. (TK/AG)


Diyarbakır - BIA News Center

19 May 2009, Tuesday

Tolga Korkut