Mothers of political prisoners protest in Istanbul despite police attempts to prevent demo

In Istanbul, mothers and relatives of political prisoners protested conditions in Turkish prisons despite the large police presence.

The relatives, especially mothers, drew attention to the violations of rights in the Turkish prisons. The central demand of the relatives is the release of seriously ill prisoners.

When the participants arrived in the square, they were surrounded by police officers. Journalists following the events were violently pushed back by the police. Also present were MPs from the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). HDP MP Murat Sarısaç protested the police repression, saying: "If it wasn't mothers, but the mafia, you would clear the way, wouldn't you? You're afraid that some mothers will stand up for their children here. These people have been subjected to such torture for a hundred years and yet they have never backed down. As you can see, the people are standing in front of you. You should use your power against the mafia and the corrupt.”

Despite the police blockade, those present managed to walk across the square with the slogan "Bijî berxwedana zindana" (Long live the prison resistance).

Enemy criminal law against members of the opposition

There are 314,502 prisoners on remand and convicts in Turkey. According to the Human Rights Association (IHD), at least 1,605 of these prisoners are unable to stay in jail due to their state of health. 604 are so seriously ill that they cannot look after themselves. Many of the ill prisoners die due to poor sanitation, inadequate nutrition or lack of medical treatment. New suspicious deaths from prisons are constantly being reported. The prison conditions are life-threatening, especially for political prisoners, and human rights activists speak of “enemy criminal law” that is used against political opponents.