Top Judge, Paralyzed After Cancer Surgery, Under Arrest At Hospital

Mustafa Erdoğan, a former member Court of Cassation, who was dismissed as part of the government’s post-coup purge of public institutions, has been kept in a holding cell at a private hospital since Dec. 30, 2016.

Mustafa Erdoğan, a former member Court of Cassation, who was dismissed as part of the government’s post-coup purge of public institutions, has been kept in a holding cell at a private hospital since Dec. 30, 2016. In a letter to the newly-established solidarity platform Justice Held Hostage, his daughter Buket Erdoğan said the top judge was denied right to “trial without arrest” although he was paralyzed after a surgery on his brain.

“I am a second-grade law faculty student at Ankara University. … I want to tell you what we have been through since the July 15, 2016 [coup attempt],” she started her letter.

Buket Erdoğan said police raided their home on July 16 and an arrest warrant was issued for her father a day after while all their properties were confiscated by the government.

She said her father refused to turn himself in to the police in the face of rights violations proliferated under post-coup emergency rules. To top it off, she added, her father has been suffering from a tumor on his brain.

“[Doctors] told that he must undergo a surgery right away. … Police came by immediately after he was hospitalized for surgery. While all I was thinking was my father’s health, police officers were discussing ways to arrest and take him to the police station in front of the intensive care unit,” Buket Erdoğan narrated.

“Left side of his body got paralyzed after the surgery. …On Dec. 30, 2016, my father was transferred to a holding cell at Akdeniz University’s Medical Faculty. My father was not even aware of his arrest. …Police are always on watch keeping in mind the possibility of him escaping. …Father’s holding cell at the hospital is closed with double-layer bars. I always wonder how doctors would be able to serve immediate treatment with those bars in case of an emergency. …Now he often suffers from memory loss and sometimes hallucinate things.”

Buket Erdoğan said her father was released for a day on Feb. 2 only before the prosecutor in charge objected to the decision.

“Since he has become a bedridden patient after the surgery, doctors asked for permission to give him an air mattress so that he gets no harm to his back during long hours of lying,” Buket Erdoğan added.

“[However], it was considered as a technological device and was not let into,” she elaborated.

“Doctors say he is able to live for 2 years more at best. Is it fair that he will be breathing his last under such circumstances?”

According to a striking report released by Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) on Mach 22, 2017 with the title of “Suspicious Deaths And Suicides In Turkey” there has been an increase in the number of suicides and suspicious deaths in Turkey, most in Turkish jails and detention centers where a torture and ill-treatment is being practiced.

In most of the 54 cases mentioned in the report, (which was later updated with the list of 60 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.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 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 despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.

Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup. Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, 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’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on April 2 that a total of 113,260 people have been detained as part of investigations into the Gülen movement since the July 15 coup attempt, while 47,155 were put into pre-trial detention. (SCF with April 30, 2017

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