Covid-19 outbreak in Turkey’s prisons
11 May 2020
Turkey’s prisons continue to pose a grave risk with respect to the Covid-19 outbreak. As of 11 May 2020, cases of Covid-19 have been reported from 22 different prison facilities.
Based on reports from relatives of prisoners, statements by the Ministry of Justice and reports published on the media, it is believed that at least 262 prisoners have contracted the virus.
According to open sources, the number of cases and the death toll are as follows:
|Samsun Bafra Type T Closed Prison||1||Death||Prisoner|
|Ministry of Justice Statement||3||Deaths||Prisoners|
|Ağrı Patnos Prison||1||Infected||Prisoner|
|Balıkesir Kepsut Prison||1||Infected||Prisoner|
|Edirne Closed Prison||2||Infected||Prisoners|
|Kayseri Bünyan Kadın Closed Prison||4||Infected||Prisoners|
|Muğla Dalaman Open Prison||3||Infected||Prisoners|
|Rize Kalkandere Type L Closed Prison||26||Infected||Prisoners|
|Silivri 5th Type L Closed Prison||2||Infected||Prisoners|
|Silivri 7th Type L Closed Prison||45||Infected||Prisoners|
|Silivri 8th Type L Closed Prison||35||Infected||Prisoners|
|Tarsus Type T Closed Prison||1||Infected||Prisoner|
|Tekirdağ 2nd Type T Prison||1||Infected||Prisoner|
|İzmir Buca Closed Prison||65||Infected||Prisoners|
|İzmir Women’s Closed Prison (Şakran/Aliağa)||2||Infected||Prisoners|
|Şanlıurfa Akçakale Open Prison||3||Infected||Prisoners|
|Konya Type E Closed Prison||55||Infected||Prisoners|
|Ministry of Justice Statement||17||Infected||Prisoners|
|Total infected prisoners||262||Infected||Prisoners|
|Afyonkarahisar Type E Closed Prison||50||Infected||Prison Staff|
|İzmir Şakran Prison||2||Infected||Prison Staff|
|Konya Type E Closed Prison||5||Infected||Prison Staff|
|Eskişehir Prison||1||Infected||Prison Staff|
|Ministry of Justice Statement||79||Infected||Prison Staff|
|Total infected prison staff||137||Infected||Prison Staff|
Prisoners who have lost their lives
5 prisoners have died of Covid-19 so far.
Prisoners who have been infected
At least 262 prisoners from 15 prison facilities have been reported as infected. A rapid spread is observable in the Silivri prison where there is a concentration of political prisoners. New cases have been identified in the 5th, 7th and 8th prisons in Silivri.
UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Agnès Callamard has released a report on States’ responsibilities regarding prisons and detention facilities in the context of Covid-19 and urged the release of all political prisoners.
Infected prison personnel
The Ministry of Justice has not made an update on the number of prison employees who have been infected, which it previously announced at 79. Taking into account the media reports, at least 137 prison officials have been infected.
- The ministry continues to ignore the highly risky situation which violates the right to life in prisons. It does not transparently and adequately inform the public, despite all the requests to that end.
- In the case of Silivri prison, the ministry has tried to cover up the situation after serious symptoms were observed among prisoners. Positive cases were identified by health officials who arrived at the prison facility to conduct tests, independently from the prison administration and upon insistent complaints filed by relatives of prisoners. After the information was made public by the families, the prosecutors have had to release a statement confirming the cases.
- It has been observed that the ministry and the prison administrations have been deliberately concealing concrete cases pointing at the outbreak behind bars in purposeful defiance of the right to life.