The Parliamentary Assembly notes that there are 544 critically ill prisoners in Turkish prisons. Among these, there are people battling with cancer, paralysis and heavily disabled people who are unable to look after themselves. 163 of the above-mentioned 544 people are now in the final stages of their illnesses. According to figures given by the Minister for Justice of Turkey, 2304 prisoners have died in prison in the last 13 years.
A recent legislative change has further reduced the chances for ill prisoners to be released. Moreover, prisoners convicted under the controversial “Anti-Terror Legislation”, including numerous journalists, politicians and intellectuals, have no chance at all of being released, even when they suffer from severe health problems. According to this legislation, such prisoners can be labelled a threat to public security, which prevents their release all together.
The abusive imprisonment of critically ill persons violates the “Right to life” and the “Prohibition of Torture” articles of the “European Convention of Human Rights”. The inhuman conditions in many Turkish prisons must be improved and the related law changed so as to enable all critically ill prisoners to be released. The European Court of Human Rights has condemned Turkey in many related cases. These judgments must finally give rise to real change.
The Assembly therefore resolves to follow the situation of the critically ill prisoners in Turkey with a view to their release, so that they may die, if not live, as free persons in the company of their loved ones.