Romani prisoner in Istanbul jail: bruised, battered, then dead in custody
09 January 2024
The family of prisoner Vahdet Akın have called for justice following his ‘suspicious’ death in Maltepe No. 1 Closed Prison in Istanbul. As reported on 4 December, on the news portal Cumhuriyet, the family’s lawyer claimed that Akın had clearly been beaten, and that injuries to his left eye and legs were recorded in the examination reports. According to an official statement Akın died of a brain hemorrhage, the prosecutor has reportedly declared it to be a ‘suspicious death’, and according to the lawyer, has initiated the necessary investigations. The family is awaiting the official autopsy report from the Forensic Medicine Institute.
Akın, who had been wanted for drug dealing, surrendered to the police a month ago, and was subsequently sentenced to prison. His sister İpek Aktaşoğlu, who visited Akın in prison just days before his death, said: "When we met, he had purple under his eyes and the inside of his lips were slit.” When she asked how it happened, he pointed to the guard next to her and said, “they beat me”. She asked the lawyer to arrange for Akın to be transferred to another ward. It didn’t happen – “and three days later we received the news of my brother’s death”.
Aktaşoğlu also said that when he saw her brother in the morgue, there were bruises on various parts of his body, and said, “We think that my brother died as a result of an assault. My brother was only 27 years-old and had three children. We will not stop pursuing this until we find my brother's killers. We want justice to be served."
The case is being closely followed by Romani Godi who are providing support to the victim’s family.