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Partially paralyzed teacher held in Turkish prison for 20 months

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İsa Kara, a 54-year-old teacher who was fired from his job after a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016, has reportedly been kept in a prison in Manisa province since October 2016 on coup charges despite the fact that he is partially paralyzed and suffers from a serious heart problem.

According to an email sent to the editors of turkeypurge.com on Monday, Kara worked as a teacher in Turkey’s Manisa province for 34 years. However, he was dismissed from his job with a government decree on Sept. 1, 2016 under a state of emergency declared in the aftermath of the coup bid. He was later detained by police and arrested by a Manisa court in the same month and has been held in pretrial detention since then.

According to information provided in the e-mail, Kara is partially paralyzed and suffers from serious heart problems. The e-mail claimed that two months before he was put in pretrial detention, he had undergone his first angiogram.

On April 12, 2018, he was transferred by prison management to İzmir Katip Çelebi University Hospital, where he had a second angiogram. After spending 45 days in the hospital, he was sent back to İzmir Buca F Type Prison.

Kara has been accused of membership in the Gülen movement.

Turkey survived military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 2016. On Dec. 13, 2017 the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on April 18, 2018 that the Turkish government had jailed 77,081 people between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

(Stockholm Center for Freedom [SCF])

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