Jailed Kurdish politician refused release despite medical report suffers from dementia, lawyer says

Imprisoned Kurdish politician Aysel Tuğluk, who was refused release in September despite medical reports, suffers from dementia and cannot take care of herself, according to her lawyer Reyhan Yalçındağ, Euronews Turkish reported.

According to YalçındaÄŸ, TuÄŸluk even forgets things that are part of his daily routine. She said TuÄŸluk’s condition worsened after facing racist attacks at her mother’s funeral in 2017.

A group of nationalists had protested against the burial of TuÄŸluk’s mother, Hatun TuÄŸluk, in a cemetery in Ankara, attempting to attack participants and threatening to remove the body. As a result, his remains had to be removed from the grave in the presence of TuÄŸluk and were buried in the southeastern province of Tunceli.

The attack was also condemned by government officials.

TuÄŸluk was arrested on December 29, 2016 when she was co-chair of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) with seven other Kurdish opposition politicians. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison for serving as a cadre of a terrorist organization and obeying the orders of Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a secessionist armed group listed as terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.

TuÄŸluk denied the charges, saying she had never called for violence and had always sought democratic solutions to the problems facing the Kurds.

According to her lawyer, TuÄŸluk received a report from a medical council made up of nine doctors from Kocaeli University Hospital stating that she could not survive on her own. However, the Institute of Forensic Medicine refused his release after a very brief examination.

Human rights activists and opposition politicians have often criticized the authorities for failing to release critically ill prisoners so that they can receive proper treatment. Human rights defender and HDP MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu said sick prisoners were not released until they reached the point of no return.

According to GergerlioÄŸlu, sick prisoners are released when the authorities realize that they will soon die. He claimed that prisoners did not have access to appropriate health facilities such as hospitals or infirmaries.

HPD MP Züleyha Gülüm said political prisoners were the most disadvantaged and were often the least likely to be released with serious health problems.

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