Şakir Turan, 70, a Kurdish inmate who was suffering from throat cancer, has passed away while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Turkey’s Erzincan province, the Mezopotamya news agency reported on Wednesday.
Turan, who was sentenced to six years in prison on charges of aiding a terrorist organization, was being held at Erzincan Type L Closed Prison. He had been sent to the Mengücek Gazi Teaching and Research Hospital for treatment a week ago.
The inmate’s son, Abdurrahman Turan, told Mezopotamya that he learned about his father’s situation from other inmates since the prison authorities failed to inform them. He said although he went to Erzincan to see his father on Aug. 25, he wasn’t allowed a visit at that time.
Turan, who was able to see his father on Aug. 28, said his father had gone from 75 to 40 kilograms.
“He couldn’t walk and was having difficulty speaking. He was moving around in a wheelchair and couldn’t attend to his own needs. They also denied our request for an attendant,” he added.
Turan said his father died at 7:30 Wednesday morning after saying goodbye to his family and urging them to take care of themselves and stand united.
Turan’s body, taken to the Institute of Forensic Medicine (ATK) morgue in Erzincan, will be laid to rest in the Savur district of Mardin.
In its report regarding the visit conducted on July 28, the Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD) highlighted that Turan lost 23 kilograms in four months due to his illness, wasn’t provided a special diet and was made to wait for two months to undergo an endoscopy.
“Despite his family’s request for his transfer to Antalya due to them residing there and facing difficulties in visiting … the request was denied. It was noted that despite his serious condition, his sentence was not postponed,” the association said.
According to a recent report by Turkey’s Human Rights Association (İHD), there are at least 1,517 sick inmates in Turkish prisons, 651 of whom are critically ill.
At least 81 inmates died in Turkish prisons last year, with six of the sick prisoners passing away shortly after their release, the report said.
Although most of the seriously ill patients had forensic and medical reports deeming them unfit to remain in prison, they were not released. Authorities refuse to free them on the grounds that they pose a potential danger to society.