HDP deputy questions justice minister about teacher who died in jail

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Halime Gülsu

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Meral Danış Bektaş has submitted a parliamentary inquiry to the Parliament’s Speaker’s Office in which he asked several questions concerning the death of Halime Gülsu, an unemployed teacher who died in jail on Saturday allegedly because she was denied crucial treatment.

Gülsu, who was arrested on Feb. 20, 2018 along with dozens of other women for allegedly helping the families of people who were jailed over alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, died in prison in Mersin province. She was suffering from lupus erythematosus and was reportedly deprived of the medication she took for this disease while in jail.

The Turkish government, which accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, has been carrying out a widespread crackdown on the movement’s followers.

In the parliamentary inquiry addressing Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül, Bektaş asked whether he had been informed about the death of Gülsu in prison and what it means to deny medication to a person in jail who cannot even perform their daily activities.

“Are not prison administrations responsible for the lives of inmates in jail?” asked Bektaş.

The HDP deputy also asked where the medical reports of Gülsu went and whether an investigation has been launched to find them and the authorities who lost them.

One of Gülsu’s brothers, Metin, said he brought Gülsu’s medical reports along with her medication while she was in detention but later learned that the reports went missing.

Another question asked by Bektaş was why Gülsu, who twice went into a coma, was kept in prison although she should have been treated in an intensive care unit and why she was sent back to prison although she was hospitalized on April 25.

Bektaş also asked whether an investigation had been launched into the officials at Tarsus Prison, where Gülsu died.

The torture, ill-treatment, abusive, inhuman and degrading treatment of people who are deprived of their liberties in Turkey’s detention centers and prisons have become the norm rather than the exception under increased nationalistic euphoria and religious zealotry in the country in the wake of the coup attempt in July 2016.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and other civil servants since the putsch while around 60,000 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

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