61-year-old businessman dies from poor conditions in Turkey’s Elbistan prison

Kamil Ü., a 61-year-old businessman who has been under arrest for over 10 months due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, died on Wednesday, reportedly due to cramped conditions and high temperatures in the Elbistan L-type prison.

According to a report by the TR724 news website, the businessman was arrested on Aug. 14, 2016 and had been in Elbistan Prison in Kahramanmaraş province, where the average temperature in June was 35 °C and humidity ranged between 60 and 80 percent.

Kamil Ü.’s body was reportedly found in a bathroom by other inmates.

 

A total of 28 individuals, among whom are police officers, prosecutors and teachers, have been found dead in Turkish prisons since the failed coup attempt, causing serious concern about the fate of thousands of civilians who are being kept in jail in poor conditions across the country.

The relatives of most of them claim that the detainees are not the kind of people to commit suicide, shedding doubt on the official narrative. Rumors also have it that some of the detainees were killed after being subjected to torture under custody.

The suspicious death has also taken place beyond the prison walls amid psychological pressure and threats of imminent imprisonment and torture, sometimes following the release of suspects or just before the detention. SCF has compiled 81 cases of suspicious death and suicides in Turkey in a list in a searchable database format.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting participants of the Gülen movement in jails.

At least 161,751 people were detained or investigated and 50,334 people were arrested in Turkey in the framework of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement since the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, according to statistics reported by state-run Anadolu news agency by basing on information taken from the officials from Turkey’s Justice Minsitry on June 13. (SCF with turkeypurge.com) July 6, 2017

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