Ziya Ataman, a journalist for Dicle News Agency (DİHA) – which was closed by Statutory Decree – has been imprisoned since 10 April 2016 in Turkey. He is seriously ill.
Ataman was sentenced to 14 years and 3 months in prison under the charge of being “a member of a terrorist organisation”. Despite being seriously ill, Ataman has reportedly not been treated adequately in prison. He sent a letter to internal medicine specialist Dr Cornelia Rohr discussing his health. Ataman was kept in quarantine once due to Covid-19 symptoms. He tested negative but since his symptoms continue, he has been placed in quarantine again.
In his letter to Dr Rohr, Ataman reportedly noted: “There was severe pain in the front and back of my chest to the left. Then, I experienced tingling and tremors. Therefore, I was sent to hospital. The cardiologist in the hospital said that there was no abnormality in the rhythm of my heart. I will be taken to have an Effort test. But I don’t know when. In my opinion, the fact that these pains started right after a severe cough seems to be that there is damage to my lungs. Of course, I do not interfere with the doctor’s job since I have no medical knowledge. I’m fine, but my cough continues and although two months have passed, I still have difficulty in tasting and smelling”.
In response to Ataman’s letter, Dr Rohr stated that she was concerned about Ataman’s health situation. Speaking to the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) about his letter, Dr Rohr stated that the symptoms described in his letter indicates that there is a life-threatening risk.
She said: “I am worried about Ziya’s health. I was not surprised that the first Covid-19 test result was negative. The test results can sometimes be negative even though the person is positive. Every doctor knows this. Ziya’s symptoms point to Covid-19. It is also clear that Ziya is in the risk group due to his chronic disease. The symptoms described in his letter means there is a a life-threatening risk. Ziya has to be immediately treated in a hygienic environment. Otherwise, this also represents risks the other prisoners’ health as well”.