Man who lost both hands to an electric shock arrested shortly after accident, says HDP lawmaker

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu has criticized Turkish authorities for arresting a man shortly after he lost both hands to an electric shock.

In a tweet Gergerlioğlu said Necdet Erik had been seriously injured due to an electric shock. He lost both hands and had severe sores on his legs. Erik was arrested and sent to Istanbul’s Maltepe Prison 35 days after his accident.

Mentioning Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, Gergerlioğlu said prison conditions were risky for Erik. “Despite all objections, this poor man was arrested,” he said. “This inmate could die in prison. Do the authorities know what they’re doing?!”

The charges against Erik were not disclosed, but Gergerlioğlu said he was arrested for a petty offense.

Human rights activists and opposition politicians have frequently criticized the authorities for not releasing critically ill prisoners so they can seek proper treatment. Gergerlioğlu earlier said ill prisoners were not released until they were at the point of no return. 

According to the Human Rights Association (İHD), as of June 2020 there were more than 1,605 sick inmates in Turkish prisons, approximately 600 of whom were critically ill. Although most of the seriously ill patients had forensic and medical reports deeming them unfit to remain in prison, they were not released. Authorities refuse to free them on the grounds that they pose a potential danger to society.

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