No official will be tried in relation to death of jailed Turkish teacher: prosecutor

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Halime Gülsu

A Turkish prosecutor has found no grounds for the prosecution of the relevant officials in the death of Halime Gülsu, a 34-year-old unemployed teacher who died in jail in May 2018 because she was allegedly denied critical treatment, according to Gülsu’s brother.

One year after Gülsu’s death in jail, public prosecutor Zeki Topaloğlu, who was overseeing an investigation into the tragedy, announced his decision not to prosecute any official who could have played a role in the incident.

Gülsu’s brother İrfan Gülsu announced the prosecutor’s decision from his Twitter account on Thursday.

Gülsu, who was arrested on Feb. 20, 2018 along with dozens of other women for allegedly helping the families of people who were jailed over alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, died in prison in Mersin province. She was suffering from lupus erythematosus and was reportedly deprived in jail of the medication she took for the condition.

The Turkish government, which accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, has been carrying out a widespread crackdown on the movement’s followers.

A letter Gülsu wrote to the Prime Ministry several days before her death revealed how she was being denied critical treatment.

Gülsu’s letter, which she wrote to the Prime Ministry Communications Center (BİMER) from Tarsus Prison four days before her death, was made public in January by Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a prominent human rights activist and a deputy from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

Gülsu was reportedly held in an overcrowded prison cell, with 21 people including three children staying in the 12-person space.

About Gülsu’s letter, Gergerlioğlu who is a medical doctor by profession, said: “In her letter Gülsu said she had been unable to get her medication for two months. I obtained her autopsy report. The case is just as I supposed in my capacity as a doctor. There was widespread congestion in all her organs. Such tremendous negligence. I will pursue this death until justice is served.”

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