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Purged teacher dies of heart attack after prison administration ignores doctor’s recommendations

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Muzaffer Özcengiz, a teacher who was purged from civil service and jailed after a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, died from a heart attack on Friday in a one-person cell in Çorum Prison, although doctors had urged the prison administration to relocate him to a ward because he could not survive on his own, according to an opposition deputy.

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu said he read a letter written by Özcengiz five days before his death, begging for mercy because he had been prescribed more medication for diabetes and hypertension.

“My condition deteriorates every day, I’m getting worse, can’t continue my life alone,” Özcengiz was quoted as saying in Gergerlioğlu’s tweets posted on Sunday.

The deputy also said he saw the late inmate’s most recent medical reports showing that his condition was getting worse.

Since the 2016 coup attempt, dozens of people have died in prison due to poor health and lack of care.

Turkey accuses the faith-based Gülen movement of orchestrating the 2016 abortive putsch, although it strongly denies any involvement.

Özcengiz was sacked from his position as public school teacher by a government decree as part of a crackdown targeting the alleged followers of the movement.

He was arrested by a court in Çankırı province in 2017.

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