Jailed cancer patient dies under detention due to maltreatment, ignorance in Turkey

One more death under suspicious conditions and because of maltreatment in detention under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 occurred in Turkey.

Thirty-two years old Selman Aşçı, who was detained because of his membership to the Gülen movement affiliated charity organisation Kimse You mu, and has been kept in pre-trial detention in İzmir’s notorious Şakran Prison over a year, has reportedly lost his life.

According to a report by online news outlet TR724, Selman Aşcı was a cancer patient and he had to got treatment in his prison. It was reported that weeks before his demise, his health situation got worse. Despite all of his applications to be transferred to a hospital, requested permit was not granted by the prison authorities.

Ten days after his health conditions became much severe and his bowels have already exploded he was taken to a hospital and taken directly to an intensive care unit. Since his bowels have already exploded, Aşçı could not be rescued despite all the interventions.

The Turkish Justice Ministry and the prison administration have not made any statements about the death of Aşçı. Aşçı was married and has 2 children.

The Turkish state has a long history of executions in police stations, and there is suspicion that M.A. was also executed and the death was made to look like a suicide. The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has reported in one of its studies titled “Suspicious Deaths and Suicides In Turkey” that there has been an increase in the number of suspicious deaths in Turkey, most in Turkish jails and detention centers where a torture and ill-treatment is being practiced. In most cases, authorities concluded these as suicides without any effective, independent investigation.

The suspicious death has also taken place beyond the prison walls amid psychological pressure and threats of imminent imprisonment and torture, sometimes following the release of suspects or just before the detention. SCF has compiled 100 cases of suspicious death and suicides in Turkey in a list as of December 14, 2017 in a searchable database format.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. Turkey’s Interior Minister announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665  people have been arrested. Previously, on December 13, 2017, The Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

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