Veteran journalist Lale Kemal faces risk of dying in prison

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Lale Kemal

Ümit Kardaş, a lawyer representing journalist Lale Kemal, who was jailed as part of an ongoing witch-hunt against the Gülen movement, has said his client faces the risk of dying in prison due to ongoing health problems, the T24 news website reported on Tuesday.

Kardaş also called on all journalist organizations for sensitivity concerning former Today’s Zaman columnist Kemal’s situation.

Lale Kemal was arrested with former Zaman columnists Ali Bulaç, Ahmet Turan Alkan, Nuriye Akman, Musta Ünal and Şahin Alpay on July 30.

Journalist Emre Soncan, who has been behind bars since July 26, suffers from kidney disease. His colleagues warn that he is not receiving proper treatment in prison.

Haşim Söylemez, a journalist who was arrested on July 29 with 16 colleagues, was just recovering from a second brain surgery he underwent a short time before being imprisoned.

Prize-winning novelist and journalist Aslı Erdoğan, who was arrested on Aug. 19, said the treatment she has been receiving in prison could inflict permanent damage to her body.

“They have not given me my medicine for five days. I am a diabetic, and my disease is about to worsen. I must have a special diet, but I can just eat yogurt. … They are treating me in a way that could inflict permanent damage on my body. If I had not been determined to resist, I would never have withstood these conditions,” Erdoğan said last month.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government have turned their media crackdown into an all-out war against critical media members and outlets following the failed coup attempt on July 15.

The government has closed down more than 130 media organizations, including three news agencies, 16 TV stations, 23 radio stations, 46 newspapers, 15 magazines and 29 publishers since the failed military coup.

According to the P24 website as many as 118 journalists are now behind bars in Turkey.

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