Turk's death in Belgium caused by prison guards

13th August 2009, Comments 9 comments

The death of a Turkish-born prisoner in a Belgian jail has provoked a wave of anger in his own country.

"An autopsy showed that the death was as a result of the intervention from prison guards," Charleroi public prosecutor Christian De Valkeneer said to the Belgian media. "It remains to be seen whether the force used was proportional."

Belgian judicial authorities have opened an enquiry into the death of 31 year old Mikail Tekin at Jamioulx prison near Charleroi in southern Belgium.

Tekin, who suffered serious psychiatric problems, had become agitated and had to be transferred to a padded cell, the authorities said. It is said to have taken three prison guards to subdue the 1.90 metre tall man who weighed 100 kg.

Prison officials iniatially denied that his death was linked to the guards' actions but Tekin’s relatives said that his body showed signs of a beating.

In Turkey the media has complained of "torture methods" in Belgian prisons.

In an effort to clarify the chain of events leading up to the man’s death, the prosecutor has arranged a reconstruction at the prison, insisting on "the presumption of innocence" for the guards.

The other guards at Jamioulx prison held a 24 hour strike on Tuesday afternoon in solidarity with their three colleagues.

The head of the Turkish parliament's human rights committee, Zafer Uskul, has written a letter to the Belgian parliament asking for details of the circumstances of the prisoner's death.

The dead man's body was flown to Turkey on Wednesday for burial in the central town of Sivas where he was born.

EU candidate nation Turkey is often criticised for its own system of incarceration, portrayed memorably in the 1970s book and film Midnight Express.


9 Comments To This Article

  • Blue posted:

    on 16th September 2009, 11:39:56 - Reply

    Midnight Express??? Am I dreaming or what. The writer of this article and the people that let it published should be ashamed for the last three sentences. How can you compare a fiction with reality? Does that mean that we should we associate Dutroux or the genocide in Rwanda to every "faits-divers" linked to Belgians in the world?
  • James Drew posted:

    on 19th August 2009, 13:55:40 - Reply

    @ Ed - A balanced, well-reasoned response to an excess of ad hominem, particularly from Alper. A universal problem, certainly - getting hot under the collar about one's own country's (well-documented) past serves no purpose whatsoever.
  • Ed posted:

    on 18th August 2009, 11:58:51 - Reply

    I agree that the reference to Midnight Express is clumsy and certainly unnecessary. However, I honestly fail to see how the tone of this article suggests that the poor man deserved what happened, nor the 'justification' of this terrible crime.

    This is not a case of 'Belgium vs Turkey - who has commited the worst crime?', this is not a case of justifying the past actions of either country (because neither country is perfect), this is a sad case of human beings exploiting their position of authority and it is something that is unfortunately a universal problem.
  • Anna posted:

    on 17th August 2009, 18:00:53 - Reply

    Shameless hypocrites ??! What is going on here?

    I do not think that this article is based on any hatred of Turks. These are only facts. Before throwing all of your anger on the author of this article could you please ask yourself if it isn't just an shamefull accident. I see NO HATE against Turkey/Turkish. Ask yourself who is being unpolite here.
  • Ali posted:

    on 15th August 2009, 22:59:51 - Reply

    And they are a member of the EU, the democratic(!) Western club...

    God damn!
  • John posted:

    on 14th August 2009, 09:21:48 - Reply

    Unbelievable. This is the only article from european press I found in internet today. Shame on all people who are talking about equity and justice.

    Assume this would happen to a belgian guy in turkey... how would the reactions be?
  • Alper posted:

    on 13th August 2009, 18:07:27 - Reply

    I have yet to read such a shameful reporting.. The author of the article couldn't contain his hatred of Turks in his crappy report and felt that he had to mention a dubious movie of 70s..

    Well, what should you expect from a nation which has committed a genocide of many millions of Congolese and introduced the "hand-chopping" torture in Africa yet to criticise Turkey on any other matter shamelessly.

    Shame on you.. You could have kept this report just fact based.
  • Metin posted:

    on 13th August 2009, 17:51:14 - Reply

    Business as usual. EU Press use every single opportunity to blame Turkey/Turkish people and arrogantly justify their shameful acts.
    Shameless hypocrites.
  • berkay posted:

    on 13th August 2009, 16:12:17 - Reply

    The author of this article should be ashamed of himself for adding the last three lines here. Turkey's prison problems back in 1970s has nothing to do with the news above. In a few months we will be in 2010. And this shamefully tragic event happened in Belgium, in the heart of Europe, now! Instead of a such distracting , manipulating lines of information we need to be informed why he was in jail in the first place? Why he wasn't even taken to the court and placed in a cell? I believe the tone in this article is trying to blame the victim for what happened and victim's country as usual.