52-year-old sick prisoner dies because of his late release in Turkey

Ahmet Bayar... Photo: ANF

Ahmet Bayar, 52-year-old lung cancer patient, has lost his life in Diyarbakır reportedly because he was released from prison too late despite of his severe health conditions.

According to report by pro-Kurdish Fırat news agency (ANF), Bayara had received a prison sentence for “committing a crime for a terrorist organization without being a member to the organization,” over his participation in a protest on February 15, 2011 in Diyarbakır. Following his sentence was approved by a higher court Bayar was arrested on March 31, 2017 and prisoned.

Bayar stayed in the Diyarbakır Type D Closed Prison for 5 months when he lost consciousness. He was released only after his family launched a sit-in and hunger strike in front of the Diyarbakır Type D Closed Prison on August 22, 2017 and he was hospitalized in Diyarbakır Gazi Yaşargil Training and Research Hospital.

However, Bayar’s health deteriorated rapidly because the treatment started late. Bayar went from 64 kg to 45 kg and started to have memory issues, failing to recognize even his family members. Bayar lost his life at home on Wednesday.

His wife Emine Bayar said the Diyarbakır Type D Closed Prison’s administration is responsible for her husband’s death. “When we hospitalized my husband, the doctors already told us that there was no hope. The prison released my husband because they knew he was going to die. They did it so to assure that nobody would say he died in prison,” she said. She has also called authorities for immediate release of sick prisoners and for the public for awareness.

At least 841 prisoners are kept in Turkish jails despite of their critical health conditions, according to figures shared by Turkey’s Justice Ministry on May 2017. Justice Ministry had to reveal the number of chronic sick prisoners who are in critical conditions as a response to a question motion submitted by Gamze Akkuş İlgezdi, a deputy from the main opposition Republican People Party (CHP).

According to the figures given by the ministry, 31 out of 841 chronic sick prisoners in jails across Turkey are women. 795 of those prisoners, who are awaiting their release after their applications to the prosecutors’s offices because of their critical health conditions, are convicted and 46 of them are arrested. The number of sick prisoners in critical health conditions in 2013 was only 63 and the current figure has been indicating that a 1,235 percent increase.

However, according to independent sources, at least 1,086 sick prisoners in critical health conditions are kept in Turkish prisons since their applications for the postponment of their jail terms have not been accepted by the Justice Ministry. Therefore, these prisoners are waiting their death in the jails.

In the last five years, 451 prisoners lost their lives because they were not released from the prisons despite of their critical and chronic health problems. In 2016, 172 prisoners lost their lives as they were waiting a decision for release from the Justice Ministry after their applications for the postponment of their prison terms.

According to the ministry’s figures the number of the prisoners who lost their lives because of their critical health conditions for years as follow: 51 prisoners in 2013, 63 prisoners in 2014, 145 prisoners in 2015, 172 prisoners in 2016 and 20 prisoners in the first two months of 2017.  Also, it is reported that in the last five years, 832 prisoners have been released by the ministry due to their critical health conditions.

According to the figures provided by the Justice Ministry, 229,790 people are in 384 prisons with a total capacity of 207,339 in Turkey. Only 141,802 out of the 229,790 have been convicted of a crime.

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