Inmate suffering from advanced cancer in Kandıra Prison cannot receive proper healthcare

An inmate in Kocaeli Kandıra Prison with stage four stomach cancer cannot access proper healthcare and has not been taken to a hospital for a follow-up examination after an operation late last year, the Bold Medya news website reported.

Ahmet Dizlek, whose stomach was completely removed five months ago, has been waiting to see a doctor for the last two months to find out if he is recovering or still has cancerous tumors.

Dizlek’s family reached out to Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu so he could make Dizlek’s sufferings known to the public. His family said Dizlek had lost 20 kilograms and had been neglected in prison.

Since his stomach was removed, Dizlek can only eat carefully prepared pureed food. However, for 15 days after his surgery Dizlek was served normal food and then only given yogurt and biscuits.

During a parliamentary speech Gergerlioğlu said it was outrageous that Dizlek was still in prison. “Ahmet Dizlek is a victim of neglect. He was not operated on for stomach cancer for two years, and now he cannot receive proper follow-up care,” said Gergerlioğlu.

Dizlek’s family said the prison administration had started pressuring him once they found out he had contacted Gergerlioğlu. “They warned my husband not to complain about prison,” said Dizlek’s wife. “He told us that if anything happened to him, the prison administration was responsible.”

Dizlek was diagnosed with stomach cancer in August 2020. He had suffered from stomach ulcers that had become cancerous due to neglect in prison. Despite the diagnosis, Dizlek’s treatment was delayed and he was sent to a hospital for surgery on November 5, 2021.

Referring to Dizlek’s condition Gergerlioğlu said it was unacceptable for inmates to be deprived of proper healthcare. During a press conference last year, he said inmates were vulnerable and alone in the system, and that this was why they were often subjected to rights violations.

Human rights activists have repeatedly called on authorities to immediately release critically ill prisoners. In the first three months of this year three sick and elderly  inmates died in prison.

According to the most recent statistics published by the Human Rights Foundation (İHD), the number of sick prisoners is in the thousands, more than 600 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 free them on the grounds that they pose a potential danger to society.

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