Report on hunger strike in Şakran Prison announced

The report prepared on Şakran Prison where hunger strike continues for 50 days says that the prisoners’ health is deteriorating and calls on the public for awareness.

The hunger strike in Aliağa Şakran Prison has reached day 51. The committee comprised of İHD, ÇHD, ÖHD, THİV and İzmir Solidarity with Prisons Initiative held a press statement in İHD İzmir headquarters to announce the report they prepared after a delegation met with prisoners.

Delegation representatives were present in the press briefing where İHD İzmir Branch administrator Att. Ali Aydın read the report.

The report first states that Şakran Type T Prison No.2 has 8 prisoners in one room and let 2 people to accompany them and continues: “All political prisoners’ educational, athletic and cultural activities have been put on hold by the prison administration because they are on hunger strike. The prison administration and doctors offer no support whatsoever. Such that the TTB’s booklet on hunger strikes states every person on hunger strike needs sodium bicarbonate, but the prison administration and doctors didn’t inform them of this. The prisoners on hunger strike were forced to go through medical checks outside the room and in the corridor for the first 20 days, but the prisoners refused on grounds that this imposition could not be healthy.”


The report draws attention to the fact that for the first 20 days, the prisoners received no medical checks and says: “After the first 20 days, the prison doctor and medical personnel started to give them medical checks in the room. The prison doctor visited the prisoners a total of 3 times between the first day of the strike and April 4. In these visits, the doctor asked how their health was passingly 2 times, and one time he sat down and received information on their situation, but didn’t give them detailed medical checks. After the first 20 days, a medical professional has visited the room every week day. The medics visit the room before noon once a day and take blood pressure and weight measurements. The prisoners were attempted to be taken to the infirmary on the weekends. But the prisoners on hunger strike didn’t want to go, because every time they go to the infirmary they claim they faced provoking, insulting, derogatory and inhumane treatment by the correctional officers, the gendarmerie and other officials. They submitted petitions to not go to the infirmary. There are 2 medics on duty in İzmir Aliağa T-2 Prison, and one of them has told the prisoners that they were ‘wasting their time’.”


The report summarizes the situation in Şakran Type T Prison No.3 as: “On February 15, 5 prisoners started a hunger strike. In this prison, the hunger strikers are in separate rooms. Usually there are a maximum of 18 people in one room. The hunger strike is on day 50 now. The prisoners aren’t allowed to meet each other one on one due to the strike. Some prisoners received a doctor for the first and only time on their 40th day and 44th day. They usually have their weight, blood pressure, pulse and body temperature measurements taken 5 days a week by a nurse, but on the weekend they receive no medical attention. Like in other prisons, in T3, all activities have been put on hold, citing the State of Emergency as an excuse. The previous practices continue with no sign of ease, despite the hunger strikes.”


The report also relays the health of the prisoners as: “The prisoners on hunger strike have started showing symptoms like nausea, change in urine color, disruption of sleep balance, dizziness, stomach cramps, failure to focus, blurry vision, constipation, abdominal contractions, fatigue, and cold hands and feet. Weight loss is between 10 and 16 kg. The prisoners take plenty of liquids, they drink juice, lemonade, salt-sugar mixture in a determined amount and herbal teas but they have never received any sodium bicarbonate as of now. Prisoners receive a multivitamin mix (Beneday) that is said to contain 250 mg B1, 250 mg B6 and some B12. They took 1 a day between days 20-35 and they started taking 2 a day since day 35. They had a doctor visit one time. Other times a nurse comes to visit. On the weekends, there is no medical attention. They are forced to go to the infirmary on the weekend but the prisoners have stated that they refuse to go.”


On Şakran Women’s Prison, the report includes the following notes: “Some prisoners are in the same room, but most of them are held separately. There are others with them. They are in 8 to 10 people rooms mostly. They joined the irreversible unlimited hunger strike on February 22 for the same reasons. In the women’s prison 3 people started the hunger strike on February 22 and 2 more on February 25. The prisoners on hunger strike submitted demands to see each other, but the administration refused. The women on hunger strike had a doctor visit one time. They receive medical checks from medics 5 days a week, and the wardens take their blood pressure and pulse on the weekends.

The women on hunger strike say they drink 1 liter of water every day, and additionally they take lemonade, juice, carrot juice, herbal teas and a sugar-salt mixture. They take 2 Benexol pills a day, they are not given pure B1 vitamin or sodium bicarbonate. They have symptoms like stomach pains, nausea, vomiting, constipation, disrupted sleep pattern, frequent urination, dizziness, skin eruption, hair loss, fatigue, distraction, muscle spasms and sensitivity to sound. They have lost between 5 and 8 kg. They are conscious, perception is good and their general situation looks good.”


The report says the following on Şakran Type T Prison No.4: “The prisoners have relayed that they haven’t been referred to the hospital when they need medical attention for a long time, they can’t use the common areas, athletic activities have been cancelled, their letters aren’t sent and the arriving letters aren’t given to them. There have been more than 3 searches in one month, during which the wards were torn apart. The food has been reduced. Their petitions aren’t being delivered and the submitted petitions aren’t answered. All their rights are on hold. They have to show the administration issued ID every time they leave their room and they receive disciplinary action if they don’t. They are forced to walk in a military fashion every time they leave their room. They are pushed against the walls in the corridors, leaving them no space to walk. They are subjected to constant verbal provocation, harassment and threats. The yard has been covered with wire mesh. Their books have been confiscated, and books they requested or had brought by visitors aren’t delivered. Newspapers and magazines are restricted. The guards walk among the tables during visitation and harass the families. The visiting families are subjected to searches that cross the harassment line.”


The report says the hunger strike in T4 has reached day 37 and adds: “The prisoners on hunger strike are held in separate rooms, with 3 in the same room. The prisoners use the patios connected to the rooms and are not allowed to get together with other hunger strikers. The doctor visited once on March 24 and took their blood pressure and left. When the doctor came in, he displayed a mocking approach towards the hunger strikers. They say the prison doctor came in only 2 or 3 days a week to the infirmary, but the prisoners don’t go because of the ID imposition. Their blood pressure, weight and blood sugar levels are measured by medics. Sometimes the wardens take their blood pressure. There is no regular weighing. They receive only B12 supplements. Some can’t take the vitamin because of its smell. The prisoners stay in wards dispersed throughout different blocks and corridors in the T4. In the same corridor, there are wards with criminal prisoners (like rape suspects). They claim there is constant pressure and they can’t exercise any of their rights. They take tea, juice, water, coffee and lemonade daily but they don’t receive sodium bicarbonate. They show symptoms like frequent urination, darkening of the urine color, dizziness, inability to focus, constipation, eye pain, loss of balance, nausea, stomach cramps, disrupted sleep routine, occasional hot flashes and low blood pressure. Their weight loss is between 8 and 14 kg.


The report concludes with the following: “As a result of visits with the prisoners on hunger strike, we have been told that they will continue the hunger strike until their demands are met, and that more prisoners will join the hunger strike as long as the demands are not met. The prisoners’ health is deteriorating every day and there is a high chance that they will suffer irreversible damage. Including the day we held these visits, every passing day new prisoners in various prisons have joined the hunger strike to bring this situation in Şakran Prisons to attention. In the hunger strikes, the first starters are entering 50-plus days, and it is believed that any negativity in the hunger strikers will reflect negatively on the other prisons as well. We are expecting the authorities to approach the issue from a place where they take the prisoners’ demands into consideration. We are calling for awareness from both the authorities and the public.”