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Man jailed over Gülen links dies as result of poor medical care in prison

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Mehmet Özbir, 41, on Tuesday died of a cancer that developed when he was in pretrial detention over Gülen links and which caused his health to deteriorate significantly due to a lack of medical care in prison, the tr724 news website reported.

Özbir was arrested in August 2016 as part of a crackdown on the Gülen movement after a coup attempt in 2016 and was jailed for more than 16 months in Manisa on terrorism charges.

He was diagnosed with cancer while in prison but reportedly did not receive proper treatment, which eventually led to the amputation of his arm. As his situation later worsened, a court ordered his release pending trial.

After getting out of jail in December, Özbir started a course of chemotherapy, but his cancer reappeared and he was hospitalized in May.

The father of three, Özbir spent his final days in the hospital in Manisa province.

Turkish authorities believe the Gülen movement orchestrated a coup attempt in 2016, although the movement strongly denies any involvement. Still, the government started a crackdown on followers of the movement, arresting some 80,000 of them, including teachers, shopkeepers, judges, attorneys, police officers, medical doctors and housewives since the abortive coup.

According to international reports, prison conditions in Turkey worsened during a state of emergency declared after the failed putsch that was terminated in July. Inmates in poor health have reported they do not receive necessary health care in prison.

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