Istanbul Medical Chamber and Bar Association call for release of severely sick inmates

The Istanbul Medical Chamber and Istanbul Bar Association have called on the Justice Ministry to release severely sick inmates who can no longer continue their treatment in prisons.

Ferhat Yaşar / DUVAR

The Istanbul Medical Chamber and Istanbul Bar Association on Sept. 13 called on the state to provide sufficient medical care for sick prisoners, recalling that at least 50 inmates have lost their lives in the first eight months of this year.

They called on the Justice Ministry to fulfill its duties in line with the Constitution and secure the right to life and right to health.

The two organizations made these calls during a press meeting held at the Istanbul Medical Chamber’s building. The meeting also saw the attendance of Istanbul Bar Association head Mehmet Durakoğlu and Istanbul Medical Chamber president Nergis Erdoğan.

Istanbul Bar Association head Durakoğlu emphasized that the right to health of prisoners “is directly under the state’s responsibility.”

Istanbul Medical Chamber Human Rights Commission member Cegerğun Polat said that they were receiving many complaints with regards to the implementations of the state Forensic Medicine Institute.

“We have been receiving so many complaints about the ATK. These have piled up so much that there is a chaos as to how this problem there will be solved. The issue of severely ill inmates is very symbolic. These are the ones notified to the public. The right to health has turned into torture and is being violated. We know that doctors working at the ATK are under a great pressure (by the government). This problem needs to be solved as soon as possible,” he said.

The two organizations’ joint press statement was read aloud by Istanbul Medical Chamber president Nergis Erdoğan and emphasized the need for the ATK’s independence from the government. The statement said that the ATK’s reports had many consequences for previous judicial decisions which is why many sick inmates died in prisons.

“Many decisions taken by the Forensic Medicine Institute departments are far away from being scientific truth, unbiased doctor stance and medical truth. These problems show that the Justice Ministry’s General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Houses does not fulfill its responsibilities in terms of ensuring the inmates' access to health services,” the statement said.

(English version by Didem Atakan)