Duvar English

The management of a jail in the eastern Turkish province of Elazığ is pressuring political prisoners to wear an ID card reading “convicted of terrorism” on their way to the prison canteen, visiting room or cargo area. If the prisoners object to wearing these cards, they are given various punishments.

“The political prisoners are told: ‘Carry this identity card on you.’ If they do not want to carry this card, their rights are denied to them. The prisoners are either banned from meeting their families or using their rights to make a telephone call. They cannot receive books or magazines sent to them via mail,” a lawyer representing one of the inmates in the Elazığ No. 2 High Security Prison told Gazete Duvar.

Sezin Uçar said that his client named İsmail Yılmaz had accepted to wear this card just to secure a meeting with him. “And my client has received this card to be able to meet his lawyer. The card reads the name of the organization that he has stood trial for,” Uçar said.

After Gazete Duvar brought the Elazığ jail management’s implementation into open in a news report on Jan. 24, a deputy from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) took the issue to the agenda of the parliament. HDP MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu filed a parliamentary question, asking Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül on what kind of a legal regulation the jail “justifies” its implementation.

“Is the allegation that a citizen named İsmail Yılmaz could not use any of his rights because he did not accept to receive a card on which reads ‘terrorism’? If this allegation is true, why does İsmail Yılmaz need to carry this ‘terrorism’ identity card just because he is jailed?” Gergerlioğlu asked.