Jailed for months over alleged Gülen links, 62-year-old teacher dies of cancer in Turkish prison

Arrested for raising donations on behalf of a Gülen movement-linked charity, 62-year-old religion and ethics teacher Hüseyin Pembe passed away after his battle with cancer in prison on June 1, reported by Turkish media. As the starting date for his imprisonment still unknown, Pembe were under arrest in a prison in Turkey’s northern province of Samsun for at least four months.

According to Turkish media and several social media accounts, Pembe was diagnosed with cancer while he was in prison. After a surgery at hospital, he was reportedly sent back to the prison where his sickness has got worse under poor conditions of the prision and he passed away.

Pembe’s body was buried in his hometown, Kayseri province. His sister, who is also under arrest over alleged links to the Gülen movement, was allowed to attend into the funeral ceremony only with gendarmeries in company.

An updated version of a report released by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) in March 2017 has documented 76 cases of suspicious deaths & suicides in Turkey during detention or under arrest or following heavy oppresions apllied by Turkish government since a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

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.

A military coup attempt on July 15 killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah 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.

According to a report by the state-run Anadolu news agency on May 28, 154,694 individuals have been detained and 50,136 have been jailed due to alleged Gülen links since the failed coup attempt. (SCF with turkeypurge.com) June 8, 2017

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