Academic who suffered cardiac problem in prison denied treatment

İsmet Özçelik

İsmet Özçelik, a Turkish academic who was forcibly brought from Malaysia to Turkey in 2017 due to his alleged links to the Gülen movement, suffered a cardiac problem in prison in Turkey’s Denizli province several days ago but was not taken to a hospital, according to tweets from his family.

Suat Özçelik, the jailed academic’s son, tweeted that they learned from the family lawyer that his father had suffered a cardiac problem in his cell about 10 days ago, adding that his family was not informed of the situation.

Suat Özçelik also said his father was a cardiac patient and underwent an angiography to rule out a pulmonary embolism in 2016.

Other family members also tweeted about Özçelik’s health, calling for human rights organization and politicians to take action before it is too late.

The 60-year-old Özçelik is reportedly being held in an overcrowded prison ward that he shares with 24 other inmates under poor conditions.

On July 26, 2019 the Konya 2nd High Criminal Court, where Özçelik stood trial, handed down a nine-year, 11 month sentence to Özçelik on charges of membership in a terrorist organization and disseminating the propaganda of a terrorist organization.

Özçelik was unable to participate in the hearing for a time due to a technical problem in the IT Voice and Image System (SEGBİS). In the meantime, the court began to draft its final ruling in violation of judicial rules because the defendant’s final defense had not been heard.

The family reported that the final court ruling caused the academic’s health to deteriorate.

In May the UN Human Rights Committee called on Turkish authorities to release Özçelik, saying the country had violated the his freedoms.

“The State party is obligated … to release the authors (of the complaint) and provide them with adequate compensation for the violations suffered,” the committee’s report on the case said, noting that Turkey’s membership in an international rights covenant required it to act and provide an “effective remedy.”

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