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Turkish prosecutors: No probe into death of man denied cancer treatment in jail

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Two prosecutor’s offices in İstanbul have rejected criminal complaints filed by the family of a man who was denied treatment for cancer while in pre-trial detention due to links to the Gülen movement and subsequently died, the Aktif Haber news website reported on Wednesday.

Forty-two-year-old Deniz Hakan Şen was in perfect health when he was jailed in October 2017 due to alleged links to the Gülen movement but began to show symptoms of cancer two months after his incarceration and died on March 6, 2018, shortly after he was released.

Although he objected to his imprisonment multiple times, with medical reports showing he was unfit to remain in prison, Turkish courts ruled for the continuation of his imprisonment until Feb. 19, 2018, when he was eventually released.

He was also denied by prison authorities the opportunity to seek necessary medical treatment. Şen, who used to be a pharmaceutical sales representative, had been arrested on terrorism charges.

Şen’s wife Hüsna Şen had filed criminal complaints against Silivri State Hospital, Halkalı Kanuni Sultan Süleyman Hospital, Okmeydanı Research and Teaching Hospital and the prison doctor, claiming that their negligence played a role in the death of her husband.

The chief prosecutor’s offices in İstanbul’s Bakırköy and Küçükçekmece districts ruled that there was no need to launch an investigation into the death of Şen, claiming there were no acts of negligence.

Hüsna Şen said while she was filing the criminal complaint, a doctor was appointed as an expert from Bakırköy Sadi Konuk Hospital as an expert in the case and that the doctor told her nothing would come from filing a criminal complaint.

“They did what they had said. I will continue to seek justice in all available national and international platforms,” said the woman.

According to his family, Şen wrote 45 petitions to the prison administration asking for urgent medical treatment; however, his petitions were ignored for 60 days by the relevant Turkish authorities, while he lost more than 35 kilograms during this period and dropped to 50 from 85 kilograms due to his deteriorating health in prison.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

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