The state of health of 83-year-old, Mehmet Emin Özkan, who has been imprisoned in Turkey for 26 years now and was a victim of a miscarriage of justice, is deteriorating day by day.
Özkan, who has been suffering from many health problems, has had five heart attacks and had 4 coronary angiogram procedures during the time he has served in prison.
Currently he is jailed in Diyarbakır Prison, in southeastern province of Diyarbakır (Amed), and Özkan is no longer able meet his own personal needs without the help of others, but the Turkish authorities still insist on keeping him jailed as part of their policy of not releasing ill-prisoners until their last dying breathe.
Ahmet Özkan, Mehmet Emin Özkan’s son, is held in the same cell as his father and he has been trying to care for him alone.
During their weekly phone call, Ahmet Özkan told his sister Selma Özkan that their father was not able to get up from his bed for the last three days, according to MA.
“He has been confined to bed care now. He is not even able to sit on his bed or his wheelchair, he is completely bedridden now. My brother was in a state of shock as we spoke, he was hardly able to talk,” she said.
Selma is obviously very concerned.
“We just want him outside the prison walls. Tomorrow may be too late,” she said.
“He is living on five different pills, he has hearing loss. Since his body refuses any serum or needles, they don’t even take him to the hospital anymore.”
What is left for them to do now? Selma answered: “We have recently launched a justice vigil with other families, who are striving for their loved ones, who are ill and in prison. We will continue this protest until they release our loved ones,” she said.
“We demand their urgent release, let them out. We will do whatever it takes, even if it means going from door to door to reach all authorities. We will not leave a single door unknocked.”
Relatives of the prisoners on Tuesday launched a “Justice Vigil” at the Diyarbakır Bar Association office in Diyarbakır to draw attention to the situation of ill prisoners, demanding their urgent release.
Özkan has been locked up in Turkish prisons for 25 years. He has been suffering from numerous physical ailments such as heart, kidney and intestine disorders.
Despite all the applications from lawyers, human rights organisations and his family for his release, the pro government’s Forensic Medicine Institute has repeatedly produced reports claiming that Özkan can “remain in prison”.
On 22 October, 1993, following the assassination of a Turkish Brigadier General called Bahtiyar Aydın, the Turkish army organised a pre-planned attack on the town of Lice (pronounced Leejay) where dozens of people were brutally murdered and almost all the Kurdish residents of the town’s houses and shops were burned down and/or gutted.
Özkan was sentenced to life in prison after being tried for the killing of Aydın in Lice. The only evidence in his conviction was the testimony of two confessors who later withdrew their statements. He was interrogated in Turkish although his only language was Kurdish and he could not speak Turkish.
On 30 August 2021, the daily Yeni Yaşam reported that a former intelligence officer claimed that Aydin was killed by a secret army unit of the Turkish army, referred as JİTEM and that the evidence was destroyed.