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.
İsmail Evren filled out the questionnaire during a prison visit in February 2019 by P24’s lawyers.
Name: İsmail Evren
İsmail Evren, the former news director of the shuttered news magazine Nokta, was arrested on 4 January 2019 on the charge of “membership in a terrorist organization.” The allegation is that Evren is a member of “FETÖ” (an acronym for “Fethullahist Terrorist Organization” — the name given by the Turkish government to the religious network led by Fethullah Gülen), which the government accuses of orchestrating the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016.
Prison: Silivri No. 3 L-Type Prison
Detained since: 4 January 2019
In pretrial detention or under sentence: Pre-trial 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’m in an L-Type prison. Here, I have to share a prison unit originally designed for seven people with 33 other inmates. The unit we’re in has seven rooms/cells, each originally designed to accommodate one person. But each one of these 7-square meter rooms is shared by five inmates. Currently we are 34 people sharing a unit built for seven people.
2. How many hours a day are you allowed to go out to the courtyard or prison yard?
The courtyard of our unit opens at 8:00 a.m. during the morning roll-call and remains open until dark. I am also allowed to go out on the football field inside the prison complex for half an hour every week.
3. Have you had any problems regarding the food served in prison? Does the food meet your health and/or dietary requirements?
No, I haven’t.
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 don’t have any health issues. I have not requested to see a doctor or a psychiatrist.
6. Have you had any problems sending/receiving letters?
No, I haven’t.
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?
There are limitations concerning our access to books. Every inmate is allowed to have 10 books in their cell, but we are not allowed to get books from outside the prison — with the exception of our “birthday” and “New Year’s Eve.” Otherwise it is forbidden. Which is a major problem for someone in pre-trial detention. We are allowed to borrow only one book once every two weeks from the prison library, but the books in the prison library collection are mostly out of date.
8. How often can your lawyers or your immediate family visit you? Are other relatives or friends allowed to visit you?
Both my lawyer and my immediate family are allowed to visit once a week. I am entitled to receive in-person visits once a month. I am also entitled to receive visits from three of my friends, but I haven’t given [the prison management] a list of contacts yet.
9. Have you been visited by a member of the parliament? If yes, could you please name those who came to your visit?
No, I haven’t.
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 haven’t started working on my defense statement yet, because an indictment has not been issued yet.
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?
I did not file any petitions. Our demands in the petitions we filed about the commissary and laundry have been met.
13. Please name any other problems/demands/shortcomings not mentioned above.
Books, books, books…