Prisoner with severe disabilities describe life in 'torturous' Turkish jail

In a letter penned to his friends and family, 62-year-old prisoner Aydın Çubukçu, who is 82% disabled, says that he hasn’t been allowed visits in years and that his life in prison is torturous.

Duvar English

Despite suffering from severe diseases and an 82% disability report, 62-year-old prisoner Aydın Çubukçu remains behind bars in the eastern Turkish province of Van. After the denial of his release and being disallowed visits, Çubukçu has penned a letter in which he detailed his health condition and his “torturous” life in prison, Mesopotamia Agency reported.

Çubukçu has served 30 years of his 36-year sentence. He is now housed in Van F Type High-Security Prison, not far from his family’s home in Batman. Despite this, in his letter, Çubukçu said that he has not been allowed visits from his family for years.

He also said that his continued detention has been severely deleterious to his health. He has developed some conditions in prison, while other pre-existing illnesses have worsened. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, prison officials have delayed his examination and treatment, and he is unable to access the necessary diet and medication to improve his condition.

According to the letter, he currently suffers from “Chronic Hepatitis B, hypertension, cyst in the brain, prostate issues, COPD, stomach ulcer-reflux-gastritis, Vertigo, right eye blindness, and his left eye sees at only 50 percent after surgery.” He currently takes at least 10 medications every day, which is a burden both financially and morally. 

His life in prison now, he said, is torture. 

Çubukçu received an 82% disability report, which should qualify him for early medical release. However, this request has been denied. He says he has also applied to the Forensic Medicine Institute for release but has not received any response. 

There are many political prisoners in Turkey who suffer from grave illnesses but are not released. This week alone, according to Eren Keskin, the co-chair of the Human Rights Association (İHD) of Turkey, four prisoners have died behind bars. She said that responsibility for the deaths of these four, Garibe Gezer, Abdülrezzak Şuyur, Halil Güneş, and Salih Toğrul, lies in the hands of the institution.