A German citizen in prison: Unjust detention, ill-treatment

The lawyers of German citizen Patrick Kraicker, who was sentenced to prison in Turkey in 2018 on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization,” reported that their client is being held in a solitary cell in Ankara’s Sincan prison, while also being arbitrarily deprived of his right to conditional release. 

In March 2018, Kraicker was detained and arrested in the Silopi district in the Southeastern province Şırnak under the accusation that he had tried to cross into Syria. The prosecution claimed that Kraicker, who neither spoke Turkish nor English, tried to enter Syria to join in the ranks of the People’s Defense Units (YPG). The indictment further claims that Kraicker, who, despite not knowing the language was questioned without an interpreter or a lawyer to defend him, admitted that he had sought to join the YPG. 

With this indictment, Kraicker was sentenced to 6 years and 3 months in prison for “membership in a terrorist organization” in October 2018 by the Şırnak 1st High Criminal Court. After being held in different prisons, Kraicker was transferred to Ankara’s Sincan Prison in June 2022. 

Although Kraicker will have served his sentence by 23 June 2024, which is his official release date, he is entitled to conditional release since 1 December 2022, according to the Turkish law on the execution of sentences. 

According to this law, convicted prisoners may be released conditionally with a court decision before the end of the execution period of their sentence, under the condition that they have served a part of their sentence in prison and that they received an evaluation of “good conduct” by the Prison’s Administration and Observation Board. 

In this framework, Kraicker’s lawyers have been applying for his conditional release since August 2022. However, as the Prison’s Administration and Observation Board did not render a positive evaluation on “good conduct” so far, Kraicker’s release has been prevented. 

Despite the fact that the Parole Hearing Court, upon appeal by Kraicker’s lawyers, has canceled the previous evaluations of the Prison’s Administration and Observation Board and ruled for re-evaluation of Kraicker’s release, the Administration and Observation Board on 24 November 2022 once more rendered a negative evaluation. This time, the evaluation was however confirmed by the Ankara 2nd Parole Hearing Court.

As a result of this process, Kraicker’s lawyers filed an application to the Turkish Constitutional Court on 19 January 2023, arguing that Kraicker’s right to freedom and security and his right to a fair trial have been violated.  

In the meantime, the Prison’s Administration and Observation Board in February and May 2023 has again rendered negative evaluations on Kraicker’s applications for release. On 22 May, Kraicker’s lawyers appealed once again to the Court of Execution against the rejection of Kraicker’s release. 

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