Lawyers, doctors and human rights activists in Turkey are cataloguing hundreds of reports of torture and assaults on left wing political prisoners-despite state censorship.
The week before Christmas heavily armed troops killed 30 prisoners who were resisting government moves to transfer them to smaller isolation cells where they would have been even more prey to abuse. The government ordered troops to set fire to dormitories and then claimed prisoners had burned themselves as a protest. Prisoner Suna Okmen described what happened after incendiary bombs were fired into one prison: 'Our hair began to catch fire. We forced the door open...and those who were still able to stand up had to drag us out. The soldiers had water cannons. If they had wanted to they could have put the fire out. All they did was watch.'
Many of those who are in prison for political offences have done nothing more than put up political posters or attend demonstrations. Police arrested 34 people on Sunday as they tried to lay a black wreath outside the headquarters of the party of prime minister Bulent Ecevit in protest at the atrocities.
Hundreds of prisoners remain on hunger strike in the isolation cells they have been forced into.