Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a human rights advocate and former deputy for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), was handcuffed in the intensive care unit of Ankara City Hospital, his son Salih said yesterday on Twitter.
After his detention on Friday evening, Gergerlioğlu had to be hospitalized and underwent an angiogram in the early hours of Saturday, after which was put in intensive care due to high blood pressure.
Gergerlioğlu was secretly taken to prison on Saturday from the back door of the hospital while he was in intensive care. The human rights advocate was also handcuffed during the transfer to Ankara’s Sincan Prison to serve his sentence, according to his son Salih Gergerlioğlu.
İki gün önce avukatlar aracılığıyla, babamın yoğun bakımda tutulduğu süre boyunca ellerinin kelepçeli olduğunu öğrendim. Yoğun bakımdaki hastaya kelepçe takmak, ne demek? Babamın hayatı boyunca mücadele ettiği, karşı çıktığı ne varsa o gece ve sonraki gün kendisine yapıldı.
— Salih Gergerlioğlu (@salihro) April 7, 2021
Gergerlioğlu was stripped of his status in parliament on March 17 based on a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence handed down to him on terrorism charges. Describing the jail sentence as unlawful, Gergerlioğlu refused to turn himself in to the authorities and waited for the police to come and arrest him. Police officers went to Gergerlioğlu’s house to take him into custody on Friday evening.
The 55-year-old politician, who has shone a light on controversial topics including torture and strip-searches in Turkey’s prisons and detention centers, was expelled from parliament over terror charges linked to a 2016 social media post in which he commented on a story that reported on outlawed Kurdish militants calling on the Turkish state to take a step towards peace.
According to the reports, a police officer, Abdülkadir Yılmaztürk, whose alleged torture and maltreatment of detainees were exposed by Gergerlioğlu, was among the police officers who forcibly took Gergerlioğlu into custody at his home.
Yılmaztürk, is seen in a video of Gergerlioğlu’s detention attacking and hitting the former deputy when Gergerlioğlu wanted to make a statement before his arrest.
Türkiye bu fotoğrafı unutmayacak; vicdan sahibi herkes bunu yapanları ve yaptıranları lanetleyecektir.pic.twitter.com/5z3Z34nIOT
— Mehmet Bekaroğlu (@MBekaroglu) April 3, 2021
Gergerlioğlu was given the jail sentence at the end of his trial on Feb. 21, 2018, and the conviction was upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeals on Feb. 19.
The HDP is accused by the government of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU. Although the pro-Kurdish party denies the claim, a government-led crackdown on the HDP reached new heights following the failed coup in July 2016.