Repression against prisoners on hunger strike

The hunger-striking prisoners in Turkey's Ereğli prison are threatened by guards, saying: "We will apply the Imrali system to you, we will prevent your release, you will stay here until you die."

On 27 November, political prisoners from the PKK and PAJK began a hunger strike for the freedom of Abdullah Öcalan and a political solution to the Kurdish question. The hunger strike is currently being organised in groups every ten days. There are already reports of reprisals against prisoners joining the action. The management of the Ereğli High Security prison in Konya threatened the hunger-striking prisoners on a massive scale.

Vacip Çoban, the brother of Ismail Çoban, one of the prisoners participating in the hunger strike in Ereğli Prison, spoke about the actions of the prison administration. Çoban stated that his brother had asked him during his last meeting to inform the public that the prison administration had threatened the prisoners on hunger strike with the words: "We will apply the Imrali system to you, we will prevent your release." The prison management also exerted psychological pressure on the prisoners by saying: 'You will stay here until you die, you will never leave this place'." The fact that these are not empty threats is shown by the prison commissions' approach of refusing to release political prisoners even after they have served their sentences due to their participation in protests or lack of remorse.

Ergin Altuntaş, co-chair of the Association for Support and Solidarity with Families of Prisoners and Detainees in Çukurova (Çukurova TUAY-DER), confirmed the rights violations that have come to light in this prison. Altuntaş said that there had always been a special crackdown on political prisoners in the detention centres, but the violations had increased after the start of the hunger strike. "They lined up the prisoners and openly threatened: 'From now on, the imralı isolation system will be applied here'. They informed the families of the prisoners on hunger strike that they would not release any of them, even after serving their sentences. There is also information that prisoners are being placed in padded cells," said Ergin Altuntaş.