The 50 Craziest Prisons and Jails in the World

9. Diyarbakir Prison

Location: Diyarbakır, Turkey
Notable Residents: n/a
Amenities: A dog trained to bite the genitals of prisoners

The Diyarbakir Prison was built in 1980. Following the 1980 Turkish coup d'état, the prison was transferred over to military administration, where it became a Martial Law Prison until 1988, when it was given back to the Ministry of Justice.

Though the prison was built to hold 700, it is often overcrowded: When the Human Rights Commission of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey visited the prison in 1996, it was holding over 900 prisoners despite a capacity of 650. The early years at the prison have been referred to as "the period of barbarity” and "the hell of Diyarbakir" because of the torture that went on at Diyarbakir Prison No. 5. Prisoners were subjected to brutal and systematic beatings, solitary confinement, being stripped naked, being blindfolded and hosed, and constant intimidation. They were even reportedly forced to salute the dog of Captain Esat Oktay Yıldıran, an animal trained to bite the genitals of naked prisoners. Women were kept in a separate ward, but subject to the same nightmarish torture. Prisoners were allegedly encouraged to rape and urinate on each other. Between 1981 and 1984, 34 people lost their lives at the prison.

Security forces invaded the prison in September 1996, killing 10 prisoners and wounding another 46. There are conflicting accounts of what actually happened that day, with some saying there was an uprising at the prison, and others saying that male prisoners decided to visit the women's quarters. The event was investigated, and the European Court of Human Rights finally decided in 2010 that the government used an unnecessary amount of force to handle the situation.

There has been talk of converting Diyarbakir into a school or museum about human rights abuse, but no action has been taken. To this day, it remains a functioning prison, haunted by the subhuman treatment of the prisoners who have perished there.

blog comments powered by Disqus