Imprisoned Turkish jurist deprived of crucial medication

Gültekin Avcı

Gültekin Avcı, a former Turkish prosecutor and columnist incarcerated in İzmir, has not been provided the medication he needs and has suffered injuries due to repeated falls, the TR724 news website reported on Wednesday.

Avcı has to take Xanax, a prescription drug used to treat anxiety and panic attacks. He has reportedly been deprived of this medication for a long time, which has led to a loss of balance and numerous falls.

Family members who visited Avcı in prison were shocked to see multiple bruises on his body, according to TR724. The prison administration has refused his request to take photographs documenting his condition.

Avcı is serving a life sentence that was handed down by an İstanbul court in December 2020 on conviction of attempting to overthrow the government by means of six columns he authored. His case is pending before an appeals court, and he has also filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights.

The articles that landed Avcı behind bars famously targeted Tevhid-Selam, an Iran-backed espionage network in Turkey. Avcı claimed in his columns that the organization had penetrated the highest echelons of the Turkish government.

A criminal investigation into the network was launched in 2010 on the basis of testimony and documentation provided by a woman who fled from her abusive husband and informed counterterrorism police that her husband had been working for Iranian intelligence.

The network was allegedly involved in a number of unsolved political assassinations in Turkey, including those of Bahriye Üçok, Muammer Aksoy, Abdi İpekçi, Ahmet Kışlalı and Uğur Mumcu.

Following purges in the Turkish judiciary soon after the revelation of a graft scandal in December 2013 that implicated family members and close associates of then-prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, new prosecutors appointed to oversee the case decided on non-prosecution. The former judge and prosecutors were dismissed and subsequently imprisoned.

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