Jailed human rights defender Erkem’s gastric bleeding ignored by Turkish prison doctors

Nazan Erkem

Nalan Erkem, who was among the rights defenders who were jailed after being detained in Büyükada, reportedly exprerienced a gastric bleeding in prison and faced maltreatments and ignorance during her visit to doctor in the prison.

According to a report by Bianet, Erkem’s lawyer Murat Dinçer has stated that she was taken to the prison hospital with handcuffs and that the surgeon did not take off her handcuffs during her visit. “Nalan Erkem said that the doctor didn’t even look at her face and didn’t examine her. This degrading behavior made her feel very bad,” said the lawyer.

“Nalan Erkem has been jailed for a month. She had gastric bleeding. The issue with her intestine is not new, but in prison this problem reoccurred. She has lost a lot of weight in prison and she is very weak. There is a hospital like a dispensary in Silivri Prison. People are not handcuffed at any level in prisons but they are just handcuffed when they go to see the doctor. Handcuffing patients is a serious rights violation,” said lawyer Dinçer.

According to Dinçer, the general surgeon didn’t take off her handcuffs during her visit. “Nalan Erkem has complaints with the general surgeon, not the other doctors. Even though she reminded her to take off her handcuffs, [the general surgeon] didn’t take off her handcuffs or examine her and didn’t even look at her face. She explained in tears that this degrading behavior made her feel very bad,” said Dinçer.

Dinçer has also complaint about the ignorance of her health situation by the doctors. “Despite the doctors have Nalan Erkem’s medical report about her severe health condition they gave an appointment for November 1.  We don’t know why they set the appointment for that date. We will also take action concerning this issue.”

Acting on an anonymous tip Turkish police raided a hotel on Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands off İstanbul on July 5,  2017, and detained İdil Eser from Amnesty International, İlknur Üstün from the Women’s Coalition, lawyer Günal Kurşun from the Human Rights Agenda Association, lawyer Nalan Erkem from the Citizens Assembly, Nejat Taştan from the Equal Rights Watch Association, Özlem Dalkıran from the Citizens’ Assembly, lawyer Şeyhmus Özbekli, Veli Acu from the Human Rights Agenda Association and two foreign trainers, Ali Garawi and Peter Steudtner.

After interrogation at the anti-terror branch of the İstanbul Police Department, on July 17, the 12th day of their detention, the 10 human rights defenders, who are accused of membership in a terrorist organization, were referred to the İstanbul Courthouse. Six of the activists were subsequently arrested, while the court decided to release four of them on judicial probation. On July 21 İstanbul’s Adalar Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for the four human rights defenders, including Taştan and Özbekli, who were released by the court.

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