University student jailed on Gülen links sent back to prison with unhealed surgery incisions


Ersel Furkan Güven, a university student who was jailed due to his alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, was sent back to prison soon after undergoing surgery and has been increasingly suffering from health problems behind bars, the Bold Medya news website reported.

Incarcerated in the northwestern province of Edirne, Güven was sent back to prison after undergoing surgery for a pilonidal cyst, a fluid-filled pocket under the skin in the lower back, before his incisions were closed, according to the report.

He is also suffering from a herniated disc, and his movements are significantly limited because of his condition, his family members told Bold Medya, calling for his release.

“He is kept in a ward with 39 people,” his mother, Nazife Güven, said. “He can’t sleep because of his pain.”

Güven was jailed as he was about to graduate with a degree in computer engineering, based solely on a witness statement from a high school friend who reported his attendance at student houses affiliated with the Gülen movement, according to the report.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, inspired by Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the 2013 corruption investigations, which implicated then-prime minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.

Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. He intensified the crackdown on the movement following the abortive putsch in 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

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