Halime Gülsu, who was arrested on Feb. 20, 2018 for allegedly helping the faith-based Gülen movement, died on Saturday in prison in Mersin province, reportedly due to deprivation of the medication she took for lupus erythematosus.
According to a report on the Kronos news website, Gülsu was not given her medication during 15 days of detention and afterwards in a Tarsus Prison cell that she shared with 21 people. Her health report was lost by prison officials. Due to health problems she was taken to Mersin City Hospital on April 25. But she was sent back to prison, where she went into a coma and died. Prison officials did not act despite calls for help from her cellmates, Kronos reported.
Her brother Zübeyir Gülsu shared photos of her coffin and death report on social media, vowing to go after all responsible in court.
Halime Gülsu was among a group of women who were detained for organizing aid activities for the families of people dismissed from their civil service jobs following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
Several Twitter accounts and media outlets in February reported torture and other forms of ill treatment at the hands of officers at the Mersin police station.
Ana Gomes, a socialist member of the European Parliament, on Saturday tweeted about Gülsu’s death: “RIP! Terribly sad. Murdered by Erdogan’s dictatorship in #Turkey!”
Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, one of Turkey’s most renowned human rights activists and former president of the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (Mazlumder), on Saturday addressed Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül and his ministry on Twitter: “She could not endure… Passed away. What a shame! Who will pay for it? We cried out and warned. What kind of country is this? Thousands of patients, children and mothers in prison?”
According to Turkey Purge 28 individuals, among whom are police officers, prosecutors and teachers, had been found dead as of April 2017 in Turkish prisons since the failed coup attempt in 2016, causing serious concern about the fate of thousands of civilians who have been kept in jail in poor conditions across the country.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government pursued a crackdown on the Gülen movement following corruption operations in December 2013 in which the inner circle of the government and then-Prime Minister Erdoğan were implicated.
Erdoğan also accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
Despite the movement strongly denying involvement in the failed coup, Erdoğan launched a witch-hunt targeting the movement following the putsch.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on April 18, 2018 said the total number of people who were arrested over their alleged ties to the Gülen movement between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 is 77,081.
Soylu said on Dec. 12 that 234,419 passports have been revoked as part of investigations into the movement since the failed coup.
On Nov. 16 Soylu had said eight holdings and 1,020 companies were seized as part of operations against the movement.
The number of people who have been investigated for alleged ties to the faith-based Gülen movement reached 402,000 in March, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on March 15.