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39 inmates with COVID-19 held together in one ward at Silivri Prison: report

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Thirty-nine prisoners with COVID-19 are being held in the same ward at Turkey’s notorious Silivri Prison, which houses some 23,000 inmates, according to the Gazete Duvar news website, reporting on an inmate’s phone call to his family.

According to officials, there are 44 inmates with COVID-19 at Silivri, but there are many reports suggesting the number is much higher.

Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a prominent rights activist and a parliamentary member, said last week that as many as 191 inmates might be affected by the coronavirus.

“There are 39 of us with symptoms of the virus in the same ward. This week, the condition of six people worsened, and they were removed from the ward. In order to keep the number of those in the ward at 39, they brought in six more people. There are no precautions whatsoever, and they are not announcing anything to us. In terms of treatment, they are only giving us malaria medication,” the prisoner told his family over the phone.

The families of the prisoners are only able to monitor the situation of their relatives via an online system, and one family said that despite following doctors’ records every day, the system is showing no changes in terms of treatment. The family said that only four to five people in the ward in question are having their temperatures taken.

According to Gergerlioğlu, as many as 45 inmates can be held in wards meant to accommodate just seven people. Gergerlioğlu submitted a parliamentary inquiry to Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gül asking for confirmation of overcrowding.

Gergerlioğlu also inquired about claims that prisoners with symptoms of the coronavirus were not being tested and asked how many prisoners to date had been tested for the virus.

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