May 5, 2021
From Kedistan

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An Appeal to Public Opinion from Devrim Ayık, a sick prisoner: “I can’t tell you everything over the phone, give names of the sick, because they will mistreat them even more.”

Devrim Ayık, imprisoned a number of times since 2019, despite the fac he is seriously ill, was arrested yet again in January 2021. Although medical reports indicate that “he should not be kept under carceral conditions”, Devrim Ayık was first incarcerated in the prison in Edirne, then, despite his trial being held in Izmir, was transferred to the prison of Eskisehir, some 427 km away, which represents over 5 hours of travelling time. Devrim suffers from a serious form of Crohn’s disease and spoke from prison during a phone communication with his family.

Phone recording on May 1st 2021 / Translated from the Kurdish by: Rosida Koyuncu

“First of all, on this May 1st, the workers’ celebration,  I wish to salute all the galley slave workers in the media and defendors of human rights.

We are in a totally different situation now. The powers that be attempt to crush the people and to keep it under control. We see the clearest reflections of this in the prisons. All our rights are confiscated, starting with our political rights. In Turkish prisons, thousands of imprisoned comrades are on hunger strike.

I would like to speak about a few of our problems in prison.

Using the pandemic as an excuse, the prison administration, almost deprives us of the right to breathe. A number of our rights are restricted. While those of our friends with less than one year remaining to their sentence should be liberated, the procedures are not undertaken. In order to carry out the procedures, they are required to state in writing that they have left “the organization” and that they repent.

The administration does not answer any of our requests. Consequently, all our problems accumulate with no solution being brought to them. Moreoever, on arriving in prisons, strip searches are done. All of our social, cultural and sports activities have been suspended.  Our means of communication, such as correspondence and fax, required in order to maintain a link with the outside world, are shut down. Our letters are not sent out. They consfiscate the letters we address to the courts, to the National Assembly and to human rights organizations, they do not send them off. Also, they distribute disciplinary sanctions based on these letters.

With us over here, there are 12 severely ill prisoners. Care to their food is imperative. For the most part, a specific diet is required, but this is not respected. Spaces within the establishment have no sanitary protection and these sick prisoners are at high risk of dying, if contaminated. In these spaces, the risk of contamination is very high.

When taken to the hospital, they are held in detention cells and these spaces are also very dirty. They keep the sick prisoners handcuffed. They do not remove the handcuffs. They provoke the sick ones, then they cancel their appointments. Things are  like in a concentration camp here… Those with Covid receive nothing but injections of antibiotics.

They force us to live in true isolation, in all aspects. We also have financial problems and cannot take advantage of the canteen.

Our people, sensitive persons should hear our voice and react. Our voice needs to be heard on social networks and in the street, everywhere.

With a new law promulgated two months ago, all powers are given to prison directors. All our rights depend on the directors’ word. Even once our sentence is ended, if there was a disciplinary sanction, the director does not authorize the liberation. We are forced to live under the arbitrariness of directors.

We have comrades who have been in prison for 29 years. They have only one more year to serve and must be transferred to open prisons. But this is not done. Deputies, beginning with those from the HDP and the CHP should take this matter up to the Constitutional Court to have this law annulled.

Specifically, prisoners incarcerated for 25, 30 years cannot be liberated because of this arbitrary law. Chastised at the whim of prison directors, the detainees are kept incarcerated, despite the fact their legal sentence is ended. International bodies of human rights and lawyers must intervene.

Our request to tribunals are stopped. This is an offence. They commit this offence. Our legal rights are thwarted. We react to this and resist. We are convinced this resistance will reach its goal. Our people must protect its children against this regime attempting to annihilate our culture, our existence.

A few of our friends who were sick with cancer died here. There should be an echo to this. The situation of ill prisoners is a matter of extreme urgency. They want people to leave this place in their caskets. Our sick friends suffer from diabetes, intestinal cancer and other serious illnesses. Lawyers must visit in order to intervene on this matter.

I can’t tell you everything over the phone, give names of the sick, because they will mistreat them even more. The state of health of our sick friends is getting more serious.”

These are the words of Devrim Ayık concerning rights violations in the prisons, in a recording shared with the press by his family. With the treatment of his condition being impossible in prison, Devrim was liberated in December 2019 but arrested again in January 2021.

While his family launched a petition for his liberation, following medical visits on April 2 2021, medical doctors stated his illness has become more serious and that it is impossible to treat him under carceral conditions. Despite these reports, no favorable steps have been taken by the prison administration.

Medical documents (pdf in Turkish)

In order to support Devrim, do not hesitate in signing the petition.

Crohn Hastası Oğlum Devrim Ayık için Özgürlük (Freedom for my son Devrim Ayık , suffering from Cronh’s disease) #DevrimAyikiçinÖgürlük

In a declaration of May 1st, the Association for Human Rights (IHD) called on the authorities to do their duty for the liberation of Devrim Ayık and other sick prisoners, and against the violations of rights in prisons.

(video in Turkish)

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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