An elderly Kurdish woman aged 80, with serious health problems was released from a Turkish prison after four months in the Kurdish-majority province of Van.
“There are hundreds of elderly and sick prisoners like me, they must be released as soon as possible,” Özer told women-focused Jin News Agency the next day.
Özer was briefly arrested along with her 79-year-old husband Hadi Özer and their children in the summer of 2018, and later charged with aiding and abetting a terrorist group. A two-year prison sentence was finalised in February, and the elderly couple were arrested in May.
Their children petitioned for medical check-ups to assess the couple’s health conditions in a bid to object to the ruling. According to medical reports, Özer was 52 percent disabled due to her chronic conditions, while her husband was found to be 33 percent disabled. Despite a diagnoses of diabetes, heart disease and liver issues, the court rejected Özer’s appeal for release, saying that the legal conditions had not been met.
The elderly woman needed to visit a hospital several times a week, as her condition was exacerbated by the prison conditions, she told Jin News. Part of the problem arose from Özer not speaking Turkish, and the hospital not providing a Kurdish translator for her.
Özer also had to “resort to mimicry and gestures” at the Forensic Medicine Institute (ATK), as she could not communicate.
The lack of communication continued right up to her release. “I was taken to the infirmary yesterday to get my medicine. Afterwards they told me I was being released. I had no idea,” she said.
Her husband Hadi however, remains behind bars.
“The ATK has issued ‘suitable to remain in prison’ reports to İbrahim Yıldırım, a 98 percent disabled man who later lost his life behind bars, Aysel Tuğluk, a former MP who was diagnosed with dementia, and Mehmet Emin Özkan, a 85-year-old man who suffers from countless ailments and has had five angioplasties,” lawyer Adile Salman told Mezopotamya Agency. “The ATK does not consider prisoners as patients.”