After allegations regarding sexual abuse and rape of children and juveniles at the Pozantı Prison in Adana, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Deputy Sebahat Tuncel claimed that the Ministry of Justice should depose the prison management from office before opening an investigation.
In a press conference at parliament, Tuncel criticized the announcement of the Ministry of Justice about the allegations as grave and forwarded information from the related report of the Human Rights Association (İHD) Mersin Branch.
Tuncel drew attention to the fact that the report included names and the ward in context of the allegations of violence and sexual harassment of the juveniles. Tuncel stated that in the face of these allegations, an investigation just to pass time was not necessary.
"What happened in Pozantı is a shame for Turkey. The Ministry of Justice has to depose the prison management form office immediately without investigation".
Tuncel announced to bring this issue to the agenda of the parliament. She also mentioned that during the term of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the number of detainees doubled.
Pozantı is not suitable for children and juveniles
İHD Mersin Branch Chairman Ali Tanrıverdi told bianet that the Parliamentary Human Rights Commission documented in one of their reports that the Pozantı Prison was not suitable for children and juveniles.
"The Human Rights Research Commission prepared a report about prisons for children and juveniles. The report said that the physical structure of the Pozantı Prison was not suitable for juveniles and that it should be closed. But the requests related to this issue were not met".
Tanrıverdi reminded that the allegations made by the children in the Pozantı prison were forwarded to the related authorities in July 2011 and that the children had requested to be transferred to different cells.
"We requested to separate all 32 children and juveniles at the Pozantı Prison from the ordinary convicts. This has not been done until today".
Tanrıverdi underlined that the 110 to 120 km distance between Adana and Mersin. Since the children and juveniles were detained, they had to be brought to the hearings frequently. They were being exposed to various kinds of insult and problems during the transport. It was also difficult for their families to see them due to the distance, Tarnıverdi indicated.
Batman Deputy Ayla Akat Ata submitted a parliamentary question related to the sexual abuse of children at the Pozantı Prison to Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin.
Ata requested answers to the following questions:
* Do you take any efforts regarding a solution for the problems stemming from children having to share cells with ordinary prisoners at the Pozantı Prison?
* Was the prison management informed about the sexual abuse and harassment at the Pozantı Prison? If yes, why did they not take any necessary measures?
* How many requests to change cells were forwarded to the prison management of the Pozantı Prison by the children and juveniles?
* Was any notification sent to the ministry about the issue and if yes, what was done about it?
* Was any investigation carried out about the Pozantı prison administration? If yes, what was the reason?
* Are any measures being taken with regard to the protection of children in prisons according to Article 34 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child?
* Was any work being done related to a separate enforcement regime outside the prison in terms of execution of the children's sentences? What is the opinion of the ministry on this subject? (YY/VK)