Duvar English

Jailed journalist Nedim Türfent has said that there are no precautions against coronavirus in prisons, as he refuted statements of Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül on the issue.

Türfent, who was arrested on May 13, 2016 and kept in a prison in the eastern province of Van, also said that inmates are not allowed to use cologne, which has antibacterial properties due to containing alcohol, with prison authorities saying that it’s banned.

“The prison canteen sells a mask for 17 Turkish Liras, which is very expensive,” Türfent told his family in a phone call on March 15, Mesopotamia Agency reported.

“No special precautions were taken for the inmates who are in high risk groups and who have chronic illnesses. Tens of thousands of inmates are sleeping on the floor in prisons,” he added.

Minister Gül on March 12 listed the precautions taken in prisons, including sending prisoners with coronavirus symptoms to hospitals, limiting visits and supplying prisons with disinfectants, cleaning materials, masks, protective clothing and gloves.

Türfent, however, said “We don’t know how these measures are implemented,” adding that they asked for gloves and disinfectants from prison authorities, but were rejected.

“Ill prisoners need to be released as soon as possible to start with,” he said.

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, meanwhile, said that prisons will be affected by coronavirus the most.

“There aren’t enough doctors in prisons. There are problems in transfers to hospitals. Tests are also not carried out,” Gergerlioğlu said.

“It’s ignorant to say that prisoners won’t be infected by the virus. There are mothers, pregnant women, the elderly and sick prisoners. A general amnesty should be brought to agenda,” he also said.