Fifteen prisoners who shouted the name of Garibe Gezer, a prisoner who allegedly committed suicide in custody after withstanding abuse from authorities, have been placed on disciplinary probation in Kocaeli prison. Among those punished include former opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ as well as former HDP deputy Dersim Mayor Edibe Şahin and former HDP Mardin Deputy Gülser Yıldırım.
Garibe Gezer killed herself in Kandıra women’s prison in early December. After being convicted on terrorism charges, she was, according to her lawyers and the Human Rights Association of Turkey (İHD) subjected to extensive abuse and harassment. Shortly prior to her death, she was placed alone in a padded cell and subjected to sexual harassment by guards.
Following Gezer’s death, prisoners in Kocaeli prison began protesting and chanting slogans including Gezer’s name, as well as "The murderer state will be held accountable", "Repression cannot intimidate us", and “Jin-jiyan-azadi,” a commonly used Kurdish slogan for women’s rights.
On Dec. 17, the Kocaeli Prison Directorate subjected 15 of the prisoners who participated in the protests to "deprivation or restriction of communication or communication tools" for "unnecessarily singing anthems and shouting slogans.”
Former HDP deputy Aysel Tuğluk was also included in the indictment. Tuğluk suffers from early-onset dementia and has been determined by medical professionals to be unfit for prison. Despite this, the Turkish government and prison officials refuse to release her. Due to her condition, however, the Kocaeli prison board did not levy disciplinary probation on her.