Turkish and European human rights activists have stepped up their campaign in support of the hunger strikers in Turkey’s prisons who protest of a new prison cells system.
They are protesting a reform program under which Ankara plans to replace existing jails which have dormitories housing up to 60 people into prisons with smaller cells holding a maximum of three prisoners.
The Germany-based IKM (Committee of Struggle against Torture through Isolation) said in a press release, of which Albawaba.com has received a copy, that more than 800 political prisoners are on indefinite hunger strike, since October 20. Some 137 prisoners among them have turned their hunger strike into a death fast, and “they are getting very close to death.”
Meanwhile, many supporters of the Death Fast across Europe have for more than 35 days fasted in solidarity with the striking inmates, according to IKM.
The committee said that it has rallied several human rights observers to make inquiries about the question of prisoners and human rights situation in Turkey … “just as its membership in the European Union is being discussed.”
On Monday, the IKM held a press conference in Brussels to promote the cause.
The London-based Amnesty International has called on the Turkish government "to ensure that all prisoners, including prisoners convicted for political offences, are treated in compliance with international standards."
Turkey maintains that its prison reforms will help ease overcrowding and allow better overall control of jails where mutinies and violent clashes between inmates are frequent.
Turkish Justice Minister Hikmet Sami Turk announced this week that the project of “F Type” cells has been suspended, and urged prisoners to end their hunger strikes, alleging that "terrorist" groups and mafias were behind the action.
The strikes were initiated by members of outlawed leftist organizations, particularly the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front, according to press reports – Albawaba.com
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