Turkish prison officers torture, break fingers of Kurdish prisoner

Hacı Bişkin reports: A Kurdish prisoner was tortured in two different Turkish prisons before being transferred to the Diyarbakır Prison where he had his fingers broken by officers, his mother said. The prison administration also prevented legal representatives from speaking with Özcan.

Hacı Bişkin / DUVAR

The mother of a Kurdish prisoner named Kurbani Özcan said that he had been tortured in two different prisons in Turkey before being transferred to Diyarbakır Prison, where officers broke his fingers.

Özcan requested his transfer out of a Trabzon prison because he was tortured, and was transferred to Espiye Prison in Giresun in March, but the threats against his physical well-being continued. 

Özcan reported being subject to a strip search upon his admission to the prison, which prompted him to start a hunger strike and eventually attempt suicide.

Finally, the prisoner was transferred to a facility in southeastern Diyarbakır, but still told his family that he was being beaten by officers and had his fingers broken. 

Özcan's mother said that the phone line was abruptly cut while he told her about the mistreatment he endured in the prison, which prompted her to seek help from legal professionals. 

Representatives from Turkey's Association of Lawyers for Freedom, Human Rights Association and the Diyarbakır Bar Association tried to visit Özcan in Diyarbakır Prison upon his mother's request, but were denied access to the prisoner. 

The prison warden initially told the attorneys that they couldn't visit Özcan because of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, and then told the lawyers to stop threatening him when they said they would prepare a write-up about the barrier to visitations. 

Cases of mistreatment in correctional facilities are often difficult to prove because the prisons delete security footage every 60 days, Association of Civil Society in the Correctional System (CISST) noted, adding that Özcan's case was particularly tricky since he never received medical attention about his injuries. 

CISST urged the Justice Ministry to look into Özcan's case and to investigate his reports of abuse.