21 Ocak 2014 Salı

One Very Special Prisoner

turkce links to original Turkish article

(Hurriyet Newspaper, 21 January 2014)

Carolina’nın isyan mektubu
Voted Most Popular Inmate

Brazilian transsexual Ronilson Soares de Mendonca,
whose nickname is 'Carolina', is confined to Maltepe
prison. Carolina claims that he/she got caught
up in the Turkey drug courier racket because of
mafia threats to his/her family and self in Brazil.
When Carolina was caught in a police operation in
Istanbul he/she was given a sentence of 12.5 years
and a 6,000TL fine.

Carolina has been held in various prisons in Turkey
for seven years and was recently transferred to Maltepe.
Because of leniencies, Carolina's confinement penalty
has long since been completed but he/she has remained
in prison for two extra years because the 6,000TL is
still unpaid.

Carolina has written a letter to a prisoners aid group
asking for help. The letter reads as follows:

"Because I'm a 'trans', I'm not allowed to work in the
prison for 'safety reasons'. I'm also excluded from
social activities. That's why I can't earn the 6,000TL I
need to pay the fine. I have to stay in this prison since
there's not one for 'us'. Normally, I should be in an open
prison so I can take advantage of the special amenities
they get there. But because my fine is still unpaid I can't
get out on monitored release. This is why I've had to stay
in prison two extra years. There's discrimination in
the laws and regulations against 'us'. But the law should
be the same for everyone."

"Previously, I was at five different prisons. They behaved
very badly toward me and even tried to make me wear
men's clothes. Here (Maltepe), though, they're very nice
to us. If I could pay my fine today I could get released
today. Officials should recognize my victimization. Just
because I'm different than men and women I've been
subjected to discrimination and haven't been able to make
the money to pay my fine. Wanting equality in this country
seems to be a crime. In a democratic country there ought
to be equality and rights."

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