This week, as the Unconditional Justice Movement, we talked about lengthy detentions and the consequent lives that were rotten in prison.

  • “Everyone should at least tell one of their relatives about the injustice inflicted on me. There is a consistent evil.” Born in 1973, Çomak was detained by the police in 1994 when he was a 21-year-old student at the Geography Department of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Istanbul University. He was arrested on charges of “burning forests in the name of PKK” and “acting separatist activities” and was put in Bayrampaşa Prison in Istanbul. His trial lasted six years. The first decision about him was made on the basis of a statement taken under torture. The sentence of Çomak, who was arrested in 1994 as a student and sentenced to death by the State Security Court in 2000, was commuted to life imprisonment.
  • The sentence given to Çomak was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2000. Çomak applied to the European Court of Human Rights in 2001 as domestic remedies were exhausted. In 2006, the ECHR ruled that Çomak had not received a fair trial and sentenced Turkey to pay compensation and decided to retrial Çomak. Despite the decision of the ECHR, only after eight years, the Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court found the request for a retrial justified on January 16, 2014. After the retrial decision, Çomak went to court on March 11, 2014, September 5, 2014, July 1, 2015, and April 12, 2016, and his request to be tried pending trial was rejected each time. Çomak, whose request to be tried pending trial in the local court was rejected on the grounds that there was “suspicion of escape and the danger of blackening the evidence” applied to the Constitutional Court.
  • However, the Constitutional Court rejected Çomak’s request to be tried pending trial on 28 October 2015. Following the ECHR’s decision, his retrial began years later in 2013, and his requests for his release pending trial were not accepted during this period. Wales PEN awarded an International Honorary Membership to poet İlhan Sami Çomak, who has been imprisoned for 27 years.
  • • İlhan Sami Çomak’s nearly 30-year detention process is just one of the painful examples of the severe legal crisis in Turkey. According to the analysis made among 47 member countries of the Council of Europe, Turkey was recorded as the country with the highest number of detainees after Russia. In addition, Turkey ranked first with a 13 percent increase in the incarceration rate.
  • In Turkey, especially in political cases, tens of thousands of people are imprisoned in prison, awaiting an indictment without even knowing the allegations against them. In Europe, according to the latest data, the average detention period is 8.5 months, and the temporary detention period is 3.5 months.
  • As of January 2020, the number of detainees in prisons in Europe has decreased regularly over the last seven years, while Turkey has the highest rate of detainees.
  • According to the 2020 data, the number of detainees in prisons in Turkey was recorded as 357, compared to every 100 thousand people. With this statistic, Turkey became the country with the highest number of detainees in Europe.
  • • Despite such a high rate of detainees, the expenditures made on detainees in prisons are sufficient to give an idea about the conditions of detention. According to the latest data from European countries, the average daily expenditure per prisoner was recorded as 108 Euro 59 Cent. While countries such as Sweden (359 Euros), Norway (344 Euros), the Netherlands (250 Euros) spend 200-300 Euros per day per prisoner, Turkey is at the bottom of the list with an average daily expenditure of 21 Euros per prisoner.

As the Unconditional Justice Movement, we demand that there be no violations of rights due to lengthy detentions with the demand for a fair trial and that the lives in prisons do not end.


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