Number of inmates with coronavirus in İstanbul’s Silivri Prison increases to 191: deputy

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Silivri Prison in İstanbul has become a symbol of Turkey, the biggest jailer of journalists around the world. / AFP PHOTO / Yasin AKGUL

Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, an opposition member of the Turkish parliament and a rights activist, tweeted late on Sunday that eight inmates from İstanbul’s notorious Silivri Prison, where most political prisoners are held, were brought to the intensive care unit of a city hospital due to COVID-19.

At least 191 inmates have tested positive so far, Gergerlioğlu added.

A few days ago the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that there were 44 prisoners with COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus.

Gergerlioğlu said inmates who tested positive were put back in their usual wards, where dozens of prisoners are kept in a relatively tight space.

“In such conditions, one would expect the virus would spread very easily,” he tweeted.

Turkey has jailed thousands of people on terrorism charges in the aftermath of a 2016 coup attempt. Most of them were only critical of the government and had no violent activity on their records.

Sezgin Tanrıkulu, another deputy, said on Friday that the coronavirus has already spread to prisons in Samsun, Konya, İzmir and İstanbul provinces, adding that there would be more cases that were not known as of yet.

The Turkish government recently released thousands of inmates due to the coronavirus outbreak to save lives; however, it excluded political prisoners.

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