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Disabled man convicted of Gülen links returned to prison after hospital discharge

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An elderly man who is almost totally disabled and was jailed last week over his conviction of links to the faith-based Gülen movement has been sent back to prison after being briefly hospitalized, the Kronos news website reported on Thursday.

Even the most basic needs of 86-year-old Mustafa Said Türk, who suffered a brain hemorrhage and became paralyzed and bedridden in 2018, were being taken care of by two professional caregivers at home before he was sent to prison.

His family earlier had told Kronos that Türk had two brain hemorrhages in the last five years, suffered a heart attack last year and had a stent implanted for his heart, in addition to receiving four insulin injections a day.

A few hours after he was sent to Manisa T Type Prison to serve his 10-year sentence on July 31, Türk was hospitalized due to poor health.

After his discharge on Thursday, he was transported by ambulance, accompanied by gendarmes, to Menemen R Type Prison in İzmir, which is located an hour away from the hospital, to continue serving his sentence.

Türk was sent back to jail after a team of eight doctors provided a report a day earlier suggesting he is “fit to remain in prison.”

The doctors stated that Türk cannot sustain his life in prison conditions due to his ongoing illness and disability, but that there is no need to postpone the execution of his sentence. They added that due to his persistent health condition and disability, it is necessary for him to be kept in R Type correctional facilities.

Although R Type prisons in Turkey are designed to be facilities intended for ill inmates and the provision of care services, there are widespread claims that these services are not adequately provided.

Turkey’s Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK), an institution affiliated with the Ministry of Justice, also summoned Türk to Istanbul for an examination and report earlier in August.

Meanwhile, Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a lawmaker from the Green Left Party (YSP) and a prominent human rights advocate, on Thursday expressed his disapproval of Türk’s transfer to prison in a video he released on Twitter, claiming that the ministries of health and justice are “sending him to his death.”

Türk was arrested following an attempted coup on July 15, 2016 and was incarcerated for 18 months in Manisa Type T Prison.

His 10-year sentence was recently upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeals. Although his lawyer requested a stay of the sentence, citing old age and severe illness, it was denied by the Manisa 3rd High Criminal Court. His lawyers then appealed the decision at the Manisa 4th High Criminal Court, which upheld the lower court’s ruling.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement, inspired by the views of Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, of masterminding the failed coup in 2016, and labels it as a terrorist organization. Gülen and his movement strongly deny any involvement in the failed putsch and any terrorist activity.

Following the coup attempt, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. More than 130,000 public servants were summarily removed from their jobs for alleged membership in or relationships with “terrorist organizations” by emergency decree-laws subject to neither judicial nor parliamentary scrutiny.

In addition to the thousands who were jailed, scores of other Gülen movement followers had to flee Turkey to avoid the government crackdown.

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