Istanbul prison faces prosecution after an entire ward gets COVID-19

The Istanbul Bakırköy Prison is facing an investigation about the infection of an entire ward of inmates with COVID-19. Attorney Sümeyra Bulduk said that the prison administration had been prompted a week ago to test the inmates, but failed to take any action or make a statement about their condition.

Hacı Bişkin / DUVAR 

Istanbul's Bakırköy Prison became the topic of a criminal complaint for abusing their authority after an entire ward was infected with COVID-19 and left untreated, which the complaint prompted an investigation into. 

Inmates of the B4 Ward in Bakırköy Prison told their families on phone calls during the first half of May that they had fevers, couldn't get out of bed, but were not being tested for COVID-19 by the prison administration. 

Attorney Sümeyra Bulduk attended the prison to disperse more information about the inmates shortly after to urge the administration to take action about the inmates. 

The prison administration failed to both make a statement about the inmates, and to test the prisoners for COVID-19 in the week following Bulduk's visit, prompting further legal action. 

The prisoners are the responsibility of the government, Bulduk said in her criminal complaint to the prosecutor's office, adding that the prison administration had failed to take any action in the face of clear COVID-19 symptoms among prisoners. 

"It's the responsibility of the prison doctor, nurses and administration that my client and others had their right to life threatened," Bulduk said. 

An expert doctor visits the facility every Wednesday, but failed to examine a majority of the inmates during his last visit, Bulduk said, adding that the prison doctor blocked the testing of the entire ward, which the expert doctor had recommended. 

The European Convention on Human Rights ensures the safety of prisoners' right to healthcare, Bulduk also noted in her complaint, adding that she suspects the prison doctor is trying to keep official numbers low by blocking testing.