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.
Seyid Kılıç filled out the questionnaire during a prison visit in September 2018 by P24’s lawyers.
Name: Seyid Kılıç
Seyid Kılıç, a former reporter for the state broadcaster TRT Haber, who was jailed in August 2016 and indicted for “membership in a terrorist group,” stood trial alongside 28 other defendants in the case publicly known as the “FETÖ media trial.” At the end of the first hearing of that case, on 31 March 2017, Kılıç and several other defendants were released from pretrial detention in line with the prosecutor’s opinion. However, he and other journalists who had been released were taken into custody as they were leaving the prison on grounds of a new investigation, this time on “coup” charges. That file was later merged with the “membership” trial. In March 2018, Kılıç, along with 11 of his co-defendants in the case, was convicted of “membership in a terrorist organization” and sentenced to 7 and-a-half years in prison.
Prison: Silivri Prison
Detained since: 31 August 2016
In pretrial detention or under sentence: In detention awaiting result of appeal
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 for three inmates along with two others.
2. How many hours a day are you allowed to go out to the courtyard or prison yard?
We are allowed to go out on the courtyard between 8:30 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., but the part where we can see the sky is covered with wire mesh. We are allowed to go out on the courtyard of our cell; there is no shared courtyard for all inmates to use.
3. Have you had any problems regarding the food served in prison? Does the food meet your health and/or dietary requirements?
We have had problems with prison food two or three times. We had nausea and we vomited. I believe it was due to foods that were past their use by date.
4. Have you had any problems in meeting your day-to-day needs such as heating, warm water for shower/bath, laundry, cleaning, etc.?
Laundry service has been available for the past nine months. Before then, there was no laundry service. We haven’t had any problems concerning hot water, heating or cleaning. The biggest problem here is mosquitoes. There has been no spraying against mosquitoes.
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 have pain in my hips. Although I did see a doctor for this problem, I have been waiting for a year-and-a-half for the treatment in line with the results of the MRI scan to begin. I waited a full six months for the MRI scan. Then it was finally done, but I have yet to see the results.
6. Have you had any problems sending/receiving letters?
I haven’t been delivered two letters that I know I was sent. But I did receive other letters. Perhaps it could be that there was a problem with the address.
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?
We are unable to receive some newspapers. We are allowed to have a maximum of 10 books [per inmate in our cell].
8. How often can your lawyers or your immediate family visit you? Are other relatives or friends allowed to visit you?
They are allowed to visit every week.
9. Have you been visited by a member of the parliament? If yes, could you please name those who came to your visit?
No MP has visited us to date. But what’s sad is that no one from the Turkish Journalists’ Association [TGC], of which I am a member, or from other journalism unions, has ever visited us.
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?
Yes, I was given access to a computer, but it was both too late and for very limited hours. Lawyer visitation was also restricted to under one hour. What was worse though, was that lawyer visitations were recorded on camera.
11. Have you been subjected to ill-treatment or any physical or verbal harassment? If so, have you filed a complaint, and if yes, what happened following your complaint?
I haven’t, but I heard about others who have.
12. Have your demands in your petitions been met? Which of your requests have or have not been met?
I asked for the documents in my health report, but I have yet to receive them.
13. Please name any other problems/demands/shortcomings not mentioned above.
I expect fellow journalists and colleagues to show solidarity with us.