Turkish Justice: Capital Punishment by Other Means?

Are Turkish authorities denying health care as a means of punishment?

Sibel Utku Bilal highlights the cavalier treatment of prisoners’ health in Turkish prisons in her recent article for AI-Monitor.

Sebnem Korur Fincanci, head of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, says she believes denial of health care is often used as a tool of “extra punishment” and “revenge” against inmates perceived as social underdogs or political adversaries.

When the Turkish judiciary finally let General Ergin Saygun out of prison, he was already on an operating table with a life-threatening heart infection.

Despite his half-functioning heart and lung, Saygun was kept in jail and then in hospital prisoner ward, guarded by armed soldiers — even as doctors warned that such environments would expose his artificial heart valve to fatal virus attacks. When the infection did happen and Saygun was rushed into emergency surgery, the authorities must have reasoned that “the man is dying, so they’d better get rid of him,” as his daughter Ece Saygun said about the judicial ruling.

The general’s case is not an aberration.  About twenty others implicated in the coup trials are also reportedly “stricken with serious diseases but deprived of proper treatment. None of them has been convicted yet.”

Bill Jones, Turkey Country Specialist, Amnesty International-USA

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