Yusuf Bekmezci (82), a seriously ill prisoner who was in custody at Kırıklar F-Type Prison in Izmir, has died after 47 days in intensive care, MA reported.
Bekmezci, who was suffering from severe difficulties including sleep apnoea, prostate issues, loss of hearing, perception and reasoning, and also Alzheimer’s disease, was arrested on 23 January 2020 as part of investigations into the Fetullah Gülen Movement. Bekmezci was remanded in Izmir Kırıklar F-Type Prison and sentenced to 17 years and 4 months imprisonment on 9 April 2021 on a charge being a “manager of an organisation”.
Forty-seven days in intensive care
Bekmezci had a cardiac arrest during cataract surgery on 5 January, and had been in intensive care for 47 days since then. Despite a report by the Istanbul Forensic Institute recommending a 3-month suspension of his custody, Izmir Criminal Court No.2 decided that Bekmezci should continue his custody in hospital.
Saadet Aytekin, Bekmezci’s granddaughter and also his lawyer, said:
“My grandfather’s case was at the Supreme Court. His sentence had not been ratified. However, the court ruled that ‘he should continue to serve his sentence in hospital’ as if his conviction had been ratified. They sent us the verdict last Thursday, 17 February. We applied to the Supreme Court again on Friday. I also met with judges about my grandfather’s release, to no avail. This is beyond unlawfulness. It’s a disregard for human life. He had illnesses throughout his two-year detention, but they refused to release a man attached to tubes in intensive care because was an ‘escape risk’.”
Sick Prisoners in Turkey
At the beginning of February another prisoner lost his life behind bars in Turkey’s prisons. Turgay Deniz was 39 years old when his lungs simply gave way. Despite medical reports stating he could not be cared for under prison conditions, he remained incarcerated.
At least eight prisoners have lost their lives behind bars in the last three months in Turkey. There are an estimated 1,600 prisoners with adverse health conditions behind bars in the country. At least 600 of these have severe conditions. Human rights organisations know of at least 38 prisoners who should be released urgently, as their conditions are further deteriorating. However, to date the authorities have not responded to calls either from human rights activists or from the families.