Teoman Gökçe, a top judge and a former member of Turkey’s Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK), died on Monday following a heart attack in prison, local media reported.
Gökçe was a member of the HSK until he resigned in the summer of 2014, claiming that government appointments violated judicial independence.
Dismissed from his job as a judge in the aftermath of a failed coup on July 15, 2016 failed, Gökçe was subsequently jailed on charges of links to the Gülen movement.
In pretrial detention since then, he suffered a heart attack in Ankara’s Sincan Prison on Monday evening and was taken to a hospital, where he later died.
Media outlets critical of the Turkish government consider Gökçe’s demise to be a “suspicious death.”
Meanwhile, rights activist Omer Faruk Gergerlioğlu said the incident is an example of the results of lengthy periods of pretrial detention.
Gökçe was born in 1969 in Tokat province and leaves behind a wife and two children.
Twenty-eight individuals, among whom are police officers, prosecutors and teachers, have been found dead in Turkish prisons since the failed coup attempt in 2016 to April 2017, causing serious concern about the fate of thousands of civilians who have been kept in jail in poor conditions across the country.
The Turkish government blames the Gülen movement for the abortive coup, while the latter denies any involvement. More than 160,000 people have experienced police custody over Gülen links since the summer of 2016.
(Turkey Purge with Turkish Minute)