Turkey’s General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Houses (CTE) has announced that prisoners in Hatay's Closed Prison on Feb. 7 attempted a riot after they wanted to see their families affected by the heavy destruction of the major earthquakes that struck the region on Feb. 6.
The CTE said that three prisoners “lost their life” in the hospital and 12 others were injured during the gendarmerie’s attempts to stop the jailbreaks. According to the institution, prisoners first attempted to escape from the penitentiary and initiated started a fire.
"The necessary intervention was made within the framework of legal regulations to prevent escape, extinguish the fire and ensure the safety of detainees and convicts in the penitentiary institution," the statement said.
After the riots, the prisoner became unusable, therefore, the remaining inmates were transferred to others institutions.
In a second press release, the CTE stated that the videos shared on social media regarding the prisoners laying around the floor in rear-handcuffing and blood were from another prison riot in the Kahramanmaraş province where “no deaths occurred during the intervention.”
On the other hand, the İzmir Bar Association asked the Justice Ministry about various information and images from the prisons in the region about rights violations, inmates being treated in a way that violates the right to life, and the prohibition of torture/ill-treatment. Asking about the conditions of prisons in the region affected by the earthquakes, the bar association also requested that all prisoners should have the right to make video calls and communicate with their families and relatives without a time limit.
On the first day of the earthquakes, the CTE announced that there was no safety problem in the prisons and all of the prisoners were safe after the quakes. Also, the institution stated that the necessary arrangements would be made to enable communication between the prisoners and their families.
The initial earthquake at a magnitude of 7.7 struck the southeastern province of Kahramanmaraş's Pazarcık district on Feb. 6 at 4:17 a.m. local time. The second earthquake came at a magnitude of 7.6 struck Kahramanmaraş's Elbistan district at 1.24 p.m. local time on the same day.
As of Feb. 9 morning, the death toll from devastating earthquakes has risen to 12,873, more than 62,937 people were injured, and at least 10,000 buildings collapsed as a result. Turkey has declared a 3-month long state of emergency in 10 provinces hit by quakes.