Kadir Eyce, a 33-year-old police officer who was jailed due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, has died several weeks after he was released from prison due to health problems.
According to photos and tweets posted by family members on Twitter, Eyce had been denied food and water in jail, thereby losing 45 kilograms in three months.
A lawyer representing Eyce told Turkish media that when he was arrested he weighed 90 kilograms. Pictures posted on social media also revealed the extent of the ill-treatment against the jailed police officer, causing serious concern about the fate of thousands of civilians who have been kept in prisons under poor conditions across the country.
The police officer reportedly died at a Sivas Hospital on Tuesday. He was denied treatment at the hospital even though he was suffering from severe gastrointestinal pain for days. They only allowed him to receive treatment in his cell. When he was finally transferred to a hospital, it was almost too late. “His body was beyond recognition,” said Emel Eyce, the wife of the police officer.
Against the background of massive crackdown on critics and opponents in Turkey and widespread torture practices in detentions and prisons, as of March 21, 2017, fifty-four people were reported to have lost their lives, most under suspicious circumstances and under lock-up in the last eight months according to a report released by Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF). Since March 21, with the death of four more people under similar conditions the number has currently reached to 58 since failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
In some cases, deaths are believed to have taken place after severe torture suspects were subjected in Turkey’s prisons and detention centers. In several cases, suspects reportedly took their lives immediately before an imminent arrest or right after the release, raising suspicions of a foul play on the part of authorities. The psychological pressure by the government and trauma of being targeted as part of an unprecedented witch-hunt campaign targeting critics and dissidents in Turkey have also played a role in some reported suicide cases, many believe.
Turkey experienced a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.
Although the movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, 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.
As of April 11, 2017, the names of victims who lost their lives under suspicious circumstances and under lock-up since July 15, 2016 as follow:
(SCF with turkeypurge.com) April 11, 2017