Hunger strikes related to Turkish prison reform: publication of report by the European Committee for the prevention of torture and of the Turkish Government's response

The Turkish Government has agreed to the publication of the report of the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) on its ad hoc visits to Turkey in December 2000/January 2001 and April/May 2001. The report is published together with the Turkish Government's response.
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The CPT's visits were triggered by the hunger strike campaign which started in October 2000, as a protest against the F-type prison project. That project forms part of the Turkish authorities' plans to introduce smaller living units for prisoners, in the framework of Turkish prison reform.

The Committee's visits began in early December 2000, at the request of the Turkish authorities, in order to contribute to efforts underway aimed at finding a solution capable of bringing the hunger strikes to an end. During the subsequent visits, the CPT gathered information on the interventions by security forces from 19 to 22 December 2000 in those prisons where hunger strikes were taking place (in the course of which 32 persons died and a large number of persons were injured) and on related inquiries and investigations. The CPT also examined the situation in the establishments - and more specifically, the F-type prisons - to which prisoners had been transferred after the interventions. Particular attention was given to the introduction of communal activity programmes in F-type prisons, in line with the amendments to Article 16 of the 1991 Law to Fight Terrorism adopted on 1 May 2001.

The CPT continues to monitor closely the implementation of all aspects of the prison reform process in Turkey, and maintains an ongoing dialogue with the Turkish authorities on this subject. Conditions of detention in F-type prisons were reviewed once again by the Committee in September 2001, in the context of a periodic visit to Turkey (cf. Press release 640 of 18 September 2001).