Health of inmate who has undergone 3 brain surgeries is visibly deteriorating, his family says

The health of former teacher Abdullah Aslan, who has been imprisoned since December 2017 for alleged links to the Gülen movement and who suffers from epilepsy, has deteriorated significantly since major surgery in August, Bold Medya reported.

Aslan has undergone three major brain surgeries since his incarceration. The last took place in August, and now he is partially paralyzed, unable to use his left arm. All of Aslan’s personal needs are taken care of by his fellow inmates on the ward.

Speaking to Bold Media, Aslan’s family said, “After the last surgery, the pressure in his brain increased due to a tumor they had to remove. He said he has started having panic attacks, and his health is visibly deteriorating, as we saw during our last visit.”

Aslan had previously said in court hearings that he was requesting parole since he could not receive adequate treatment in prison, but his statements were not considered by the judges.

Aslan, who was sentenced to 10 years, 15 months in prison and was told by his doctors that he would not be able to recover under prison conditions, is being held in Bolvadin Prison in the central western province of Afyonkarahisar.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-prime minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.

Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. Erdoğan intensified the crackdown on the movement following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that he accused Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity.

Critics have slammed Turkish authorities for refusing to release critically ill prisoners.

Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and a physician himself, said critically ill political prisoners were not released from prison “until it reaches the point of no return.” He depicted the deaths of seriously ill prisoners in Turkey who are not released in time to receive proper medical treatment as acts of “murder” committed by the state.

According to the Human Rights Association (İHD), there are more than 1,605 sick prisoners in Turkish prisons, approximately 604 of whom are critically ill. Although most of the seriously ill patients have forensic and medical reports deeming them unfit to remain in prison, they are not released. Authorities refuse to release them on the grounds that they pose a potential danger to society. In the first eight months of 2020, five critically ill prisoners passed away because they were not released in time to receive proper medical treatment.

Since April 2020 four seriously ill prisoners over the age of 70 have died in penal institutions; five inmates suffering from cancer died shortly after they were released; and 16 died of chronic illnesses while imprisoned.

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