Mehmet Emin Özkan, (83) who has been falsely imprisoned for 25 years, is suffering from numerous serious health problems caused by heart, kidney and intestine disorders meaning he is unable to meet any of his own personal needs.
Despite all attempts by his lawyers, Turkey’s Human Rights Association and his family for his release, the Forensic Medicine Institute has repeatedly reported that Özkan can “remain in prison” despite his serious illnesses.
Özkan was sentenced to life imprisonment for assassinating Gendarmerie Regional Commander Bahtiyar Aydın in Lice in 1993.
The only evidence for his conviction was the testimony of two confessors who later withdrew their statements. There have also been repeated allegations that the assassination of the Turkish officer was carried out by a circle of Turkish JITEM operatives within the Turkish army to lay the ground to raze the town of Lice to the ground. https://bianet.org/english/law/249573-new-confessions-about-1993-lice-massacre-on-parliamentary-agenda
The case was reopened eight years ago on the grounds that Özkan was totally innocent and was a victim of a gross miscarriage of justice. The last session of the case was held on 15 September. He has however, still not been released.
Speaking to MA, his daughter Selma Özkan says his health is deteriorating rapidly and he is supposed to be receiving constant medical treatment in hospital.
“Is prison a place for a person who cannot meet his own needs?” she asks. “Even if they at least took him to hospital or placed him under house arrest, we could take care of him. He’s here today, but who knows what will happen to him tomorrow?”
Selma Özkan emphasises that the requests for his release are being rejected for fear of having the whole case collapse:
“They know that if they release him, the Lice case will be left without a basis, and they will be the ones to be accused. Nobody says, ‘You were there, we saw you there; we have your fingerprints…’ It’s been so many years and they have no such evidence… We just want this last wish of our father to be fulfiled. Release him so he can visit his village. Then death is certainly God’s will. Amen.”