Former bureaucrat who turned up in Ankara prison after 9 months missing has lost significant amount of weight: daughter

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Hüseyin Galip Küçüközyiğit, a former Turkish bureaucrat who had been missing since December 2020 and has been found in Ankara’s Sincan Prison, has lost a significant amount of weight, according to his daughter Nursena, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported.

Nursena was finally able to see her father, who was suspected of being the victim of an enforced disappearance, after nine months of waiting.

Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and a prominent human rights activist, demanded an explanation from Turkish authorities for the condition of Küçüközyiğit’s health.

“Yesterday I got a call [informing me] that my father was in prison. I waited for some time to confirm it, but I can share the news now. My father is alive,” Nursena announced on Twitter on Tuesday. The young woman said the news about the location of her father was first given to her grandmother by someone who introduced himself as a police officer in a phone call at around 1 a.m. on Tuesday.

Küçüközyiğit was a successful lawyer who served as the chief legal counsel for the Turks Abroad and Related Communities Agency (YTB). He was fired from his job by a government decree in the aftermath of a coup attempt in July 2016. He was later sentenced to six years, three months in prison for “membership in a terrorist organization” due to his alleged ties to the Gülen movement, a faith-based group inspired by Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen. Küçüközyiğit was released from pretrial detention pending appeal.

In May Nursena filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights requesting an interim measure concerning her father’s case after Turkey’s Constitutional Court rejected a similar request.

Amnesty International issued an urgent call for action at the beginning of February for a thorough investigation of Küçüközyiğit’s disappearance.

Nearly 30 people have reportedly been abducted by Turkish intelligence since 2016. Most of the abductions targeted members of the Gülen movement. Many of the abductees mysteriously reappeared in police custody in Ankara after six to nine-month absences.

Apparently intimidated, most of them had kept their silence after their reappearance. Speaking at a court hearing in February 2020, one of the abductees, Gökhan Türkmen, revealed that he had been held incommunicado at a black site in Ankara run by Turkey’s intelligence agency and subjected to severe torture during his 271-day stay. Türkmen was the object of threats and was sexually harassed and abused during his enforced disappearance. He also alleged that he was visited in prison and threatened no less than six times by officials who introduced themselves as intelligence officers, pressuring him to retract his allegations of abduction and torture made at the February hearing.

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