habersoL: Gezi detainee talked about what he went through in Metris prison; ‘The inmates were recounting their murders’

Umut Akgül, who was arrested during the Gezi Park protests, talked about what he went through in the cells of Metris Prison where he was held alongside homicide suspects . Akgul was not allowed to sleep for days, was forced to fast and shown news clippings of murders .. The prison attorney’s response was, “This is the prison, enjoy it!”

umut_akgul_icUmut Akgul is one of eight detainees arrested during the Gezi demonstrations and only set free yesterday. Akgul, who was held in the same cell as homicide suspects in Metris Prison, talked to SOL about what he went through. Akgul said that he was not allowed to sleep at night, was forced to fast, and was told stories of murder by the inmates. He also mentioned that the guards made him sign a petition that said he didn’t have any complaints. When told of these things the attorney told him, “This is prison, enjoy!”.

Below is what Umut Akgul told us about Metris:

“We had quite a few difficulties during the first couple of days we were inside. Starting at the police station, we were subjected to a naked search, we were assaulted, treated badly, we were not given any food or drinks for hours. When we were first taken to the prison, we were held in a filthy place for two days. Then we were taken to the cells one by one.”

“They told us not to tell anyone that we were from Gezi demonstrations”

“Guards did not want us to tell other inmates in the cell that we were from Gezi. They said, ‘There are people inside who are against these protests, you could be treated badly in here’ but I told the people in the cell. The

ordinary prisoners yelled and screamed at us about our opposition to the state. They said they had been expecting amnesty because of the resolution process but the protests were pushing that off the agenda. They were making threats that they were going to cut off the head of the next person coming from Gezi.”

“They made me ask the guards for digging tools”

“They were 7 people when I arrived the ward. 4 of the were convicted of murder and the other 3 of injuring with intent. Another person came in after me for an injury case and then we were 9 in total. Three of them were in for a life sentence, some for 36 years. Since they thought they would not be released anyway, they were doing whatever they wanted. There was no assault or physical attack but there was psychological torture. They made me ask the guard for shovels, just to make fun of me, I had to ask and I was reprimanded by the guard. He told me that he would put me in isolation.”

“I was waking them up for sahoor at nights, then I wasn’t allowed to sleep during the day”

“The first three nights they gave me the night watch and did not let me sleep until the morning. Since I had the night watch I had to wake them up for sahoor. I was threatened, they forced me to do the prayers and fast. I was hassled for not sitting opposite them, compelled to set the tables and serve them. Prison has its own ways. The first week it was forbidden to go out for exercise and fresh air. I was forced to make the tea, do the cooking, and wash the dishes. I have cysts both on my knee and lower back, so I should be excused from too much standing, squatting, getting up and down. I was in such a condition after washing the dishes for hours on end that I wasn’t able to stand and got a doctor’s report. The guards paraded me before the inmates and said the attorney’s order is, ‘ No forcing”

“They provided food in prison but only once a day. The cell leaders did not let me sleep during the day to be fair to the ones who fasted. I was smoking but they said it disturbed them. When I was tired and tried to sleep, they threw water at me, when I went to the bathroom they turned off the electricity. Those were jokes according to them.”

“The tattooed arm should be cut off!”

“After the fourth day, after the lawyers and agents came they started to soften and listen. Then I told them I was a communist. They told me that I was thinking right, wanting justice and equality but I should do it in God’s name, with fasting and praying five times, otherwise I would burn in hell. When they saw I had a tattoo on my arm, they said that there was a fatwa about this that said the tattooed arm should be cut off. I don’t know what would have happened inside if we stayed longer.”

“They shared stories of their murders, showed newspaper clippings”

“They were talking about how they had committed their murders. One of them killed a Fenerbahce fan in a Fenerbahce- Galatasaray game, another one cut off the head off someone he grew up with as a brother because he lost it when he had been taking drugs. I did not get involved in any discussion with him because he was one of those people that you wouldn’t know how he might react when he got angry. I was even worried about sleeping at nights because of him. For instance, one of them was set free after he was convicted of murder and then he was returned to prison again for injuring someone else. Another one was in for drugs and injury and he told me, “I committed crimes in the last ten years and I’m not as famous as you.” They had collected the newspaper clippings about their murders and they showed them to me.”

“The guard came to the cell for my signature”

“The guard came to the cell. The warden was at the door. The guards asked if there was any assault, forcing or pressure. I told them there was psychological pressure. They told me that this is prison, that is regular and I needed to sign a paper saying that I hadn’t suffered from any oppression. The inmates were in the cell and the cell leader wrote, “I didn’t suffer from any oppression” on a piece of paper and I signed it”

“The attorney asked if I had any complaints in front of the guardians”

“A few days before I was released the attorney called me, I went to his room. The guards were sitting with him and the door was open. He asked me if I had any complaints about the cell, the food or about the guards. I said I was coerced at first but then it decreased. He asked me if I was suffering any oppression right now. I said I wouldn’t malign anyone since I was arrested with slanders as well. I told him I wasn’t physically attacked but I was suffering psychological oppression. He told me that this was prison and I should enjoy it, that I could talk with others in the cell but I shouldn’t get close. Then he made me sign the paper in front of the guards. I said I wanted to change cells. I said we should either stay with the other 8 people I was detained with or stay with political prisoners. They said that it was against the law to stay with the other 8 people, and that we would face this pressure in any of the cells so I had to stay in this one. I had given up hope of being released, so I had stashed some stuff like cigarettes. Then my lawyers came and told me that I was being released. I was happy.”

Selin Asker
18 July 2013
Source: haber.sol.org.tr

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