A number of lawyers have made a statement about the state of health of Aysel Tuğluk, former co-chair of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP, who is imprisoned in Kocaeli F-Type Prison.
On 15 March, Kocaeli University Hospital reported that the imprisoned Kurdish politician Aysel Tuğluk is suffering from dementia and is not fit to remain in prison. In contrast to this, the official Forensic Medicine Institute (ATK) reported that Tuğluk was indeed “fit to remain in prison.”
Thousands of women from various countries signed an appeal in support of Aysel Tuğluk and called for her immediate release, and now lawyers from the Diyarbakır Bar Association and Rosa Women’s Association have made a joint call for her immediate release and the release of other sick prisoners.
Speaking to Jin News, Aslı Pasinli, a lawyer from the Diyarbakır Bar Association, stated that Aysel Tuğluk and other sick prisoners should be released before the further deterioration of their health.
Suzan Akipa, a board member of the Diyarbakır (Amed) branch of the Free Lawyers Association, stated that Tuğluk is no longer able to take care of herself because she is suffering from dementia, as reported by Kocaeli University Hospital. She stated that Aysel Tuğluk is still in jail because of the ”biased” ATK report.
Hatice Demir, of the Diyarbakır Bar Association, expressing her concerns for Tuğluk, said, ”We also have a responsibility to fight for every woman who cannot make her voice heard from prison like Aysel Tuğluk”.
Demir continued: ”Keeping Tuğluk in prison despite the report issued by Kocaeli University saying she is ‘unfit to remain in prison’, is definitely political. Because Aysel Tuğluk is a Kurdish woman politician, and one of the names emerging from the Kurdish women’s freedom struggle.”
Racist mob at her mothers funeral
Lawyer Berfin Polat, from Rosa Women’s Association, recalled the racist mob who attacked Tuğluk’s mother’s funeral, and said that the mob was one of the main causes of the deterioration of Aysel Tuğluk health.
”Her memory deteriorated after the attack on her mother’s grave,” she noted.
Polat also criticised the ATK, indicating that it frequently issues reports saying that prisoners are ‘fit to remain in prison’ despite severe illnesses’.
”It is clear that the series of deaths in prisons are due to reports issued by the ATK under political influence,” she said.
Aysel Tuğluk was arrested along with seven other politicians on 29 December 2016, when she was deputy co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). She is held in Kocaeli Type F Prison. She has been in prison for nearly five years, having been sentenced to ten years on a charge of being a “leader of an [illegal] organisation” in 2018.