LGBT Hapiste

Carolina’s letter dated 26.05.2014 and the refusal of bathroom visits as a form of abuse

Source: LGBT Hapiste, “Carolina’nın 26.05.2014 tarihli mektubu ve bir kötü muamele olarak tuvalete çıkarmama” (“Carolina’s letter dated 26.05.2014 and the refusal of bathroom visits as a form of abuse”), LGBT Hapiste, 29.05.2014,

Carolina wrote a new letter to our organization on 26.05.2014. In her three page letter, she talks about how she was denied trips to the bathroom even though she was taken to the hospital in the morning and was kept on the transport bus for hours. After knocking on the door of the transport bus for 45 minutes, the soldiers refused to let her visit the bathroom, saying “Are we going to take you to the men’s or women’s bathroom?” This clearly is a form of maltreatment and even torture. Carolina also attached a two-page report, issued by Istanbul Faculty of Medicine – Department of Psychiatry on 09.01.2012, which provides a response to the soldier’s question. In the report, it is decided that Carolina “be allowed to live in line with her female identity, roles and behaviors.”

We are sharing this letter, which represents a fitting example of maltreatment Carolina is being subjected to in her everyday life.


Avşa’s Letter: Transsexuals and Turkish Prisons

Zafer Kıraç and Mustafa Eren, “Avşa’nın Mektubu, Translar ve Türkiye Hapishaneleri” (“Avşa’s Letter: Transsexuals and Turkish Prisons”) LGBT Hapiste, 4 May 2014,

“Homosexuals are denied work in prison workshops; they are denied visits to the clinic; as well opportunities to exercise, go to the library, seek religious instruction, access theater, concerts or classes.Homosexuals are denied the right to breathe…”

“It is free to assault, pressure, physically or psychologically pressure, sexually assault, harass, threaten or insult homosexuals.” (Avşa)

Avşa, the trans inmate, has been exposed to abuses, ill treatments, harassments and rapes in prisons for years. She was brave to report these violations of rights to authorities by criminal complaints many times, but this only increased threats and attacks against her. Avşa wrote a letter to our organization (Civil Society in the Penal System Foundation – CISST) about what she has been through.

Avşa states that she has been incarcerated since 2006. She talks about the time in the Çorum L-type Closed Prison, where she went through harassment as well as oppression and psychological pressure. At first she filed a complaint about these wrongful acts but had to retract it after she was “threatened and harassed” by the prison administration. This was followed by the addition of another 4.5 years to her sentence due to “insulting an officer.”

She was then transferred to the Giresun E-type Closed Prison. As attacks against her continued, she was also subjected to “aggravated sexual assault” by a correctional officer. In other words, she was raped. She also brought this incident to trial and the Giresun Criminal Court sentenced the correctional officer, who had sexually assaulted Avşa, to 10 years and 6 months of imprisonment.

Avşa’s prison life became even more unbearable after her rapist correctional officer got  imprisoned by the court. She concludes:

“After this ugly and unpleasant incident became known in other prisons across the Black Sea Region, other officers started to harass and threaten me, I officially petitioned our Ministry of Justice. Due to security concerns I was relocated to prisons in other cities; first in Tokat, then Niğde, Gümüşhane and Bafra.”


CISST: Our Critiques of the LGBTI Prison and Suggestions for Solving the Problem

Source: Mustafa Eren, “LGBTİ Hapishanesine Yönelik Eleştirilerimiz ve Sorunun Çözümüne Dair Önerilerimiz” (“Our Critiques of the LGBTI Prison and Suggestions for Solving the Problem,”) 15 April 2014,

The Ministry of Justice responded to the Republican People’s Party Member of Parliament Veli Ağbaba’s inquiry by stating that they will establish a separate prison for inmates with “different sexual orientations.” This is not the first statement on this issue by the Ministry of Justice. The Ministry of Justice had previously stated that “a special penal institution is being planned for those convicts and detainees in the condition of being LGBT.”

As the Civil Society in the Penal System Foundation (CISST), we conducted a research project “Inmates with Special Needs” between November 2012- November 2013. Within this research, we submitted an application, within the right to information, to the ministry regarding LGBTI inmates. The Ministry responded on 24 July 2013 declaring that they will establish a separate prison for LGBTI inmates. We shared this information with the public and stated our critique of the issue.

When the Ministry declared its plan, we submitted a new application asking when and where the prison would be established. Their answer from 16 September 2013 stated that “it is not certain where and when the penal institution would be established, however, the project continues.”

We think it is necessary to share our critiques with the public again.


To be an LGBT inmate in Turkey

Source: Elif Avcı, “Türkiye’de LGBT Mahpus Olmak,” (“To be an LGBT inmate in Turkey,”) bianet, 7 September 2013,

Even if it seems like we are all equal before the law, certain groups are outside of that equality in comparison to others. Prisons must develop new strategies to ensure that LGBT inmates serve their sentences in conditions compatible with human dignity.

Gender diversity as a human trait and sexual orientation as a formation that develops either naturally or by choice, have extensive social and political realities which cannot be squeezed into individual and moral contexts.

Just as any reality that is “othered” as a taboo in society needs political and public advocacy, it also needs to be legally secured and the foundations of social, political, and cultural acceptance must be laid out with rights and obligations.

The roots of this demand from the state and from its legal basis i.e. the constitution are human dignity and the universality of human rights.


What are the rights of LGBT people in prison?

Source: “LGBT Bireylerin Cezaevi Koşullarındaki Hakları Nelerdir?” (“What are the rights of LGBT people in prison?”,) Human Rights Agenda Association, 

Human Rights Agenda Association publishes their work for LGBT people on their website. One of these studies explains LGBT rights within the conditions of prisons. We share this article with our readers:

Just like in normal life, LGBT people face discrimination, prejudice, and labeling in prisons as well. Most LGBT people in prison are exposed to attacks by other inmates and the prison staff because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. The measures taken in order to protect them from these attacks often result in their isolation.(1)

The United Nations has developed general principles about the treatment of people in prisons and the conditions of the prisons, as well as a series of protective standards such as the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, UN Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners (Principle 1), UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment (Principle 1), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Article 10), and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman and Degrading treatment or Punishment (CPT Standards). Although life is never normal in prison, the general principle based on this framework is that prison conditions -apart from the loss of freedom – should be as close to normal living conditions as possible. The punishment consists only of the deprivation of liberty. Conditions of incarceration cannot be used as an additional punishment. All circumstances that imprisonment could cause should be minimized. Therefore, for those in prison, life in prison must be made as close as possible to normal life.(2) In Turkey, the 2nd article of “The Law on the Execution of Penalties and Security Measures” number 5275 interdicts discrimination of  inmates and bans cruel, inhumane, humiliating, and degrading treatment during the execution of the penalty.