Colonel suffering from multiple conditions not released despite health report

Mustafa Barış AVIALAN

Mustafa Barış Avıalan, a former staff colonel sentenced to life imprisonment on coup charges, has not been released by a court despite health reports stating that his sentence needs to be postponed for six months,, a website giving voice to soldiers purged from the military by the government and their families, reported.

Col. Avıalan suffers from cardiac insufficiency, pleural effusion, COPD and cardiac cirrhosis. Due to his critical illnesses his abdomen and feet are swollen, he suffers from a shortness of breath, his left eye is swollen or closed and he has jaundice. His condition deteriorated after he was initially denied treatment despite suffering from heart disease and kept in solitary confinement.

A health board at the Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt Teaching and Research Hospital issued a report last month requesting his release based on Article 16 of the law on execution of sentences, which stipulates that “if the execution of a sentence poses a risk to the life of the convict, execution of the sentence is postponed until the convict has recovered.” The prison administration filed a request for the postponement of the execution of his sentence based on the report.

The administration’s request is currently before Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals. Yet, according to a source who spoke to, the court is deliberately not ruling on the case. Court officials said, “Do not bother, we cannot postpone the execution of the sentence of an inmate who received 141 life sentences.”

Avıalan was a decorated officer and led the Turkish General Staff’s project department. On the night of July 15, 2016, he received a phone call informing him of a meeting on a probable terrorist attack on Akıncı Airbase in Ankara. The caller said the chief of general staff of the time, Gen. Hulusi Akar, would also be present at the meeting. He followed orders and went to the airbase.

According to the Turkish government, Akıncı Airbase was the command center for a failed coup in July 2016 and Chief of General Staff Gen. Akar was held there after allegedly being taken hostage by the coup plotters. Everyone at the airbase that night was accused of taking part in the coup.

Col. Avıalan was convicted on coup-related charges and was handed down 141 aggravated life sentences on June 20, 2019.

Turkey experienced a controversial military coup attempt on the night of July 15, 2016 which, according to many, was a false flag aimed at entrenching Erdoğan’s authoritarian rule by rooting out dissidents and eliminating powerful actors such as the military in his desire for absolute power.

According to the testimony of several soldiers, including the commander of Akıncı Airbase, Brig. Gen. Hakan Evrim, and former Air Forces Commander Gen. Akın Öztürk, Akar was not a hostage at Akıncı Airbase and went there of his own volition on the night of the coup.

The abortive putsch killed 251 people and wounded more than a thousand others. The next morning, after announcing that the coup had been foiled, the Turkish government immediately started a huge purge of military officers, judges, police officers, teachers and other government officials, which ultimately led to the summary dismissal of more than 150,000 public servants from their jobs.

Due to his critical condition, Avıalan is frequently taken to the emergency room but is not admitted to the hospital and is returned to his cell.

Col. Avıalan’s hospital report
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