The following questionnaire, conducted by P24 Platform for Independent Journalism, is part of a survey aimed at revealing the conditions faced by journalists in prison in Turkey, either in pretrial detention or under a sentence. In addition to documenting the problems journalists might be facing during their time in prison, this survey is also aimed at helping improve their prison environment.
Ahmet Altan filled out the questionnaire during a prison visit in June 2018 by P24’s lawyers.
Name: Ahmet Altan
Prison: Silivri Prison
Detained since: September 23, 2016
In pretrial detention or under sentence: Under sentence-pretrial detention
1. Are you detained with other inmates or are you in solitary confinement? How many people do you share the prison ward/cell with?
I am detained in a cell which I share with two other inmates.
2. How many hours a day are you allowed to go out to the courtyard or prison yard?
I go out on the cell’s courtyard. In winter, we can use it for nine hours a day and in summer for around 12 hours.
3. Have you had any problems regarding the food served in prison? Does the food meet your health and/or dietary requirements?
I haven’t had any problems. I did not have any special requests.
4. Have you had any problems in meeting your day-to-day needs such as heating, warm water for shower/bath, laundry, cleaning, etc.?
No, I haven’t.
5. Do you suffer from any chronic illnesses? Do you have to take regular medication? Do you have access to a medical doctor and/or psychiatrist whenever you need? Have you had any difficulty obtaining your prescribed medicines?
I do not suffer from a chronic ailment. There are no regular medications I need to take. I have been able to access a medical doctor whenever I asked for it. Medications that I ask for have also been made available.
6. Have you had any problems sending/receiving letters?
I was banned from sending and receiving letters for a very long time. After that restriction was lifted, I was delivered several letters that had arrived when the ban was still in place, but lately I haven’t been able to receive any of the letters I’m sent.
7. Have you faced any limitations concerning books, newspapers or other publications you asked for? How many books are you allowed in your prison ward/cell?
No I haven’t. We are allowed to have 10 books at a time.
8. How often can your lawyers or your immediate family visit you? Are other relatives or friends allowed to visit you?
There are no restrictions on visitation concerning my lawyers. I am allowed visitation by my family once every week. I am not allowed to be visited by anyone other than my kids and my sister.
9. Have you been visited by a member of the parliament? If yes, could you please name those who came to your visit?
A number of MPs have visited me in prison.
10. Have you faced any problems preparing your defense statement? Do you have access to a computer, to the library, and to your case file while working on your defense statement?
I did not face any difficulty preparing my defense. I do not have access to a computer though.
11. Have you been subject to ill-treatment or any physical or verbal harassment? If so, have you filed a complaint, and if yes, what happened following your complaint?
No, I haven’t.
12. Have your demands in your petitions been met? Which of your requests have or have not been met?
Mostly, yes, my requests have been met.
13. Please name any other problems/demands/shortcomings not mentioned above.
We need to have the right to have more books. And I need a laptop on which I could write.