On 27 June, seriously sick prisoner Mehmet Emin Özkan was referred to the Forensic Medicine Institute in Istanbul for a new medical check to evaluate his health status and whether he was “eligible” for release.
In order to attend the medical check, Özkan was made to travel over 3,000 kilometers between Diyarbakır (Amed), Elazığ (Elezîz) and Istanbul, and he felt faint in the plane on his return for Istanbul to Diyarbakır, MA reports.
Within the last month alone, the elderly and sick prisoner has been hospitalised seven times.
He was taken to a hospital in handcuffs, outraging human rights defenders in Turkey. He was subjected to further scandalous treatment when he was given no food on his transfer to another hospital in Elazığ, travelling for the whole day on an empty stomach between Diyarbakır and Elazığ.
Özkan’s lawyers and family members have applied to the authorities numerous times for his immediate release, citing their concerns about his life-threatening condition. On 23 June, following the latest application for his release, Özkan was taken to Diyarbakır Gazi Yaşargil Training and Research Hospital.
Oddly enough, his medical status was evaluated only by the “psychiatry” department although he has been suffering from numerous physical problems such as heart, kidney and intestinal disorders.
The board evaluating Özkan’s “mental health” rather than his physical health problems suggested a “psychiatric treatment” for Özkan and filed a report that suggested, “he is fit to stay in prison”.
Özkan was sentenced to prison for life on a charge of the murder of Bahtiyar Aydın, a Diyarbakır Gendarmerie Regional Commander who was killed on 22 October 1993 in Lice district of Diyarbakır.
Having spent 25 years of his life in jail, Özkan has had five heart attacks and has had to have four angio operations during his time in prison.
He suffers from extreme weight loss due to kidney and intestinal disorders, and he also has amnesia and loss of sight and hearing.
His lawyers and family have been demanding his release on health grounds for years, yet all applications for his release have been rejected by the Turkish authorities despite a medical report previously issued for Özkan that stated he was 87 percent disabled and suggested he was “eligible for release”.