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TURKEY: Solitary confinement for Mehmet Tarhan - arbitrary punishment

  • Turkey

War Resisters' International is very concerned about reports on arbitrary punishment of Mehmet Tarhan in prison. Today, we received a report about the latest case of arbitrary punishment: 10 days of solitary confinement. The case is bizarre, and exemplifies the arbitrariness of disciplinary punishment of Mehmet Tarhan.

Mehmet Tarhan had his own television in his room, but for various reasons he decided he did not want to watch TV. One of the reasons was that there are cameras in every prison cell, and when you watch TV (also when you wash yourself), these cameras can catch you. Mehmet Tarhan preferred to read books in a corner where the cameras can't see him. As protest against the observation, he turned his TV upsite down - and as he didn't use it, it didn't matter too much.

However, Mehmet Tarhan noticed that in one of the common room of the prisoners, there was no TV. So he decided to make his own TV available for the common room. Normally, prisoners had electricity for 24hrs a day, but recently the prison authorities began to switch off electricity at 10pm - which meant the TV in the common room could no longer be used after 10pm. In protest against this measure, the prisoners turned Mehmet Tarhan's TV in the common room upsite down.

However, the prison authorities decided to punish Mehmet Tarhan, giving as a reason that he gave his TV to other prisoners without the permission of the prison authorities. They felt that 10 days solitary confinement would be the appropriate punishment for this violation of prison discipline. In comparison, two prisoners who rioted, burned their cell, and took two person hostage for a brief period, injuring them, got 12 days of solitary confinement as a punishment.

War Resisters' International condemns the arbitrary punishment of Mehmet Tarhan, and calls on the prison authorities to cancel the punishment.

War Resisters' International calls for the immediate release of Mehmet Tarhan and all other imprisoned conscientious objectors.

Andreas Speck
War Resisters' International
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