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Human Rights

There is a letter from 26-year-old epilepsy patient Hatice Erol

“Unfortunately, my disease is increasing every day. There is no record of the epilepsy attacks I have experienced. Every attack has a risk of paralysis.”

SEVİNÇ ÖZARSLAN

Hatice Erol (26), a patient with severe epilepsy, has been imprisoned in Konya Eregli Prison for a year. Erol, having the risk of paralysis in increasing attacks expressed her experiences with a letter.

She sent the letter to Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, human rights defender and HDP Kocaeli Deputy, and asked for help.

Graduated from the Faculty of Theology of Suleyman Demirel University, Hatice Erol has been suffering from severe epilepsy since she was a baby. She had her first epilepsy attack when she was a 6-month-old baby and used heavy drugs for many years.

Erol was detained and imprisoned while the disease was in the process of being alleviated. She started her letter with the sentence “Unfortunately, my disease is increasing every day.

“Erol, stating that she was helpless, explained that her illness was progressing, and every attack had a risk of paralysis. Nevertheless, there was not any record of attacks, and it was reported to the court that her health situation was good.

Erol, who repeatedly asked for evacuation, could not document her epilepsy attacks. She stated that she sent the letter for the support of Gergerlioğlu.

Here the letter sent by Hatice Erol on April 3, 2019, from Eregli (Konya) T Type Closed and Open Penal Institution:

Dear Mr. Ömer Faruk

First of all, thank you very much for not being indifferent to my situation. I’m sorry to have to write such a letter.
My name is Hatice, and I am 26 years old. I graduated from the Faculty of Theology at Süleyman Demirel University. I’ve been arrested for 1 year. My court continues. You can see easily when you research that I was not in any organization against my nation.

I’m not a member of a terrorist organization. I’ve always been a student that my teachers boast. Now, unfortunately, I have been persecuted by my beloved state. I’m being punished for a crime that I don’t commit. I’m asking you for help with my illness.

I’ve had severe epilepsy since I was a baby. I had my first epilepsy attack when I was a 6-month-old and used heavy drugs for many years. I was detained and arrested while my illness was in the process of being alleviated. Unfortunately, my disease is increasing every day. There are no reports of the attacks that I have experienced. Also, it was reported to the court that my health situation was good. Although we demanded our release from the court insistently, I could not document my epilepsy attack in prison. Every attack I have is at risk of paralysis.
I’m sending this letter to you because I’m desperate. I’m waiting for your support because I know you’re sensitive to these issues. Thanks for everything.

Yours truly
Hatice Erol

PATIENT-RELATED SUBSTANCES IN EXECUTION LAW OF THE NUMBER 5275

According to article 16 of Law 5275 on the Execution of Criminal and Security Measures, the execution of the sentence of a prisoner who is considered not to be a serious and concrete danger in terms of community security and which cannot sustain his / her life alone in the conditions of the penal institutions due to a severe illness or disability, can be left back until he/she heals.

According to Article 6, it is compulsory to take all kinds of protective measures to protect the life rights of the convicts and their integrity of the body and soul in the penitentiary institutions.
According to Article 2, cruel, inhuman, and degrading acts cannot be carried out in the execution of punishment and security measures.

THE CRIMES WHICH ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PUBLIC OFFICERS THAT PREVENT THE TREATMENT OF PATIENTS ACCORDING TO THE TURKISH CRIMINAL LAW
1) THE TURKISH CRIMINAL LAW 257

If the public official (the Execution / Prison Prosecutor, the Director, the Officer), causes the victimization of persons, the crime of MİSFEACENCE occurs.

2) THE TURKISH CRIMINAL LAW 94

When a civil servant performs the behaviors that are incompatible with humans and cause physical or mental suffering, influence, humiliation (insult, etc.), TORTURE CRIME occurs.

3) THE TURKISH CRIMINAL LAW 95

As a result of the torture of the victim;
– If one of his senses is constantly weak,
– If his life is in danger
– If a disease is not healed, the punishment will be folded.

4) THE TURKISH CRIMINAL LAW 83

If death is caused by the negligence of the public officer (if they cannot reach their medicines, in any way the treatment is prevented), the DELIBERATELY KILLING crime occurs

– If the victim dies, he is sentenced to aggravated imprisonment.

5) THE TURKISH CRIMINAL LAW 279

If a public official learns in connection with a crime and neglects to notify the authorities or shows a delay, the crime of not report the crime occurs.

Human Rights

Arrested two months into her marriage, got cancer in prison – tumor grew rapidly due to delayed treatment

Betul Aygun (28), a Turkish national in prison diagnosed with breast cancer three weeks ago, will have surgery tomorrow. As it took 6 months for the test results to come up, Aygun’s tumor grew and surgery has become imminent.

BOLD – Turkish Prisons continue to be “torture centers” for the sick detainees imprisoned due to the crackdown in Turkey. Betul Aygun (28) went to a hospital in April 2019, and the physicians diagnosed her with breast cancer three weeks ago. The tumor in Aygun’s body, due to the lack of treatment during a six months wait for the test results, grew quickly in a month.

“A guard had her by the arm and brought her to me”

“My wife had gallbladder surgery a year ago. Nobody had informed us of this surgery. I found out when I went to the penitentiary for the visiting day, which was four days after the surgery. A guard had her by the arm [she was not able to walk alone] and brought her to see me,” Abdurrahman Aygün, the husband of Betül Aygün, stated.

He went on by saying, “She went to hospital six months ago. The doctor asked for a biopsy and we found out the result three weeks ago.”

Facing a burdensome, paperwork-heavy process as a result of being imprisoned, Mr. Aygün explained that she had to follow the due process in the hospital even when she was in a dire state, and the preparation of the required documents took longer and longer.

Hospitalized for surgery, Betül’s petitions to be released from prison fell on deaf ears.

“We do not know the exact stage of the disease”

Abdurrahman Aygün said that the arduous journeys Betül had to endure with the prisoner transport vehicle worn her out.

“When my wife came from the hospital, she couldn’t recover herself, she couldn’t eat, she was exhausted, she wasn’t even able to talk. She was ruined due to the long ride,” said Aygün.

“When she went to receive her test results, she got car sick. She became very ill again and was taken back to the hospital. She is going to have an ultrasound scan, scheduled for the 1st of November. Her doctor told me that the bulk had grown faster than usual in the last month,” Betül’s husband went on.

“The stress and other environmental factors often induce these abnormalities. We do not know the exact stage of the disease, it needs to be checked frequently. I can’t get the reports from the hospital, because she’s imprisoned,” Aygün pointed out.

She got married three days before the July 2016 putsch-bid

Graduated from the Department of Geography in 2010, Betül got arrested on October 12, 2016. Aygun was sentenced to twelve and a half years in prison over her alleged ties to the Gulen movement. A higher court reduced the sentence to seven and a half years. The Supreme Court of Appeals upheld the latter ruling about a year ago. Betul Aygun, who got married on July 12, 2016, was arrested while her marriage was just two-month old.

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Human Rights

Arrested when she was married for two months, got canser in the prison an the tumor grew rapidly because of delayed treatment

The sick-prisoner Mrs. Betul Aygun, who was diagnosed with breast cancer three weeks ago, will have an operation tomorrow. Waiting for the biopsy results for 6 months, Aygun’s tumor grew rapidly within 1 month and was decided for surgery.

BOLD – Prisons continue to be “torture houses” for the sick arrestee. Betul Aygun (28), who was referred to Odemis State Hospital and biopsied in April 2019, was diagnosed with breast cancer 3 weeks ago. The tumor in Aygün, who was held for 6 months for the test results, grew rapidly in 1 month.

PRISON OFFICER TOOK HER ARM AND BROUGHT

Abdurrahman Aygun, the husband of Betul Aygun, stated that “My wife had a gallbladder surgery a year ago. We have not been informed of this surgery anyway. I found out it when I went to the non-contact visit four days after the surgery. The guard entered her arm and brought her to the non-contact visit. She went to Odemis State Hospital 5 or 6 months ago. The doctor asked for a biopsy and we found out the result three weeks ago.

Encountering a very restricted paperwork process as a result of being imprisoned, Mr. Aygun explained that she had to go through many procedures when she went to the hospital even in her critical situation and the preparation of the documents always took longer time. Betül Aygün, who was referred from Odemis State Hospital to Katip Celebi Training and Research Hospital in Izmir for surgery, still did not have an eviction decision despite writing a petition to the prison prosecutor to explain her situation.

WE DON’T KNOW WHAT STAGE HER ILLNESS IS

Abdurrahman Aygün said that his wife was worn out due to the difficult journeys she made with the prisoner transport vehicle consisting of cells:

When my wife came from the hospital, she couldn’t recover herself, she couldn’t eat, she was exhausted, she wasn’t able to talk even. She’s ruined for 5 hours journey. When she went to receive her test results, she had motion sickness incidence, became very sick again and was taken to the hospital back. She’s going to have another ultrasound, and it is scheduled for November 1. When I went to visit her last week, her doctor told me that the mass grew faster than normal in a month. These are always caused by stress and the environment. We do not know exactly what stage of the disease, it needs to be monitored frequently. I met the prison prosecutor. I can’t get the reports from the hospital, because she’s convicted.”

SHE WAS MARRIED 3 DAYS BEFORE 15 JULY

Graduated from Çanakkale 18 Mart University, Department of Geography in 2010, Betul Aygun was arrested on 12 October 2016 in Çanakkale and three months later she was transferred to Odemis M Type Prison. Aygun was sentenced to 12.5 years imprisonment by the Canakkale Assize Court for alleged membership of the organization. The Court of Appeal reduced her sentence to 7.5 years. The Supreme Court upheld the sentence about a year ago. Betul Aygun, who got married on 12 July 2016, was arrested while she was married for just two months.

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Human Rights

Had to hide my two-month-old in a suitcase to cross the border – Doctor Rana

Having experienced the inhumane treatment with her two months baby under the detainment, Doctor Rana decided to flee the country to abroad, in order to do so, she had to hide her baby in suitcase.

BOLD – Rana, a medical doctor and a mother, was detained during the crackdown that ensued after the July 2016 coup bid. She told about the horrible moments she had to undergo to the rights group Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST).

The young doctor had to put her baby in a suitcase and set out on a difficult journey to escape persecution. She and her family’s ordeal after the putsch are narrated in a book titled “The Baby in the Suitcase” published by the AST.

During the post-coup purge, the genocidal acts committed by the Erdogan regime forced the victims to flee Turkey. Emergency decrees issued by Erdogan enforced such draconian measures people who are accused of being Gulenists couldn’t even work legally and therefore had been sentenced to civil death.

Their passports confiscated by authorities, the victims of the crackdown weren’t able to use legal ways to flee the country. Many of them drowned crossing the Evros river, which forms the border between Turkey and the European Union.

Dr. Rana is one of those victims who had nothing but two options; face the persecution or live in exile. She decided to flee the country after facing the inhumane treatment in her detention. While crossing the border, she had to hide her baby in a suitcase.

Rana and her husband were on vacation on the day of the coup bid. After the bid was quashed, Erdogan administration began purging people who had alleged ties to the Gulen movement, whom he accuses of orchestrating the coup. Rana’s husband lost his job during this purge. In the following days, police detained her and forced her to become an informant.

“Because I had not breastfed my baby for a long time, it gave me excruciating pain and I had to express my breast milk into the sink of the custody room. I cried saying ‘at least give me a napkin’ but nobody came to help,” said Rana while explaining the ordeal.

Being released after a lengthy detainment, Rana decided to leave the country. She and her husband went through many hardships. Smugglers asked her to put her baby into a suitcase. “Neither I nor my husband wanted to put our two months old baby son into the suitcase,” told Rana and carried on with saying, “I couldn’t stand it, I couldn’t even bear the sight.”

Their dreams stripped away, two young doctors stepped into freedom in such condition.

Staying in Georgia for a short period, the couple traveled to the US and from there they went to Canada. Following long stays in refugee settlements, they are trying to build a new life there.

“We experienced merciless treatment from the Anatolian people that we once saw as divinely wise and benevolent,” said Rana and went on with expressing her wishes, “ I hope and pray that we are destined to have a good life here.”

The PDF format of the “The Baby in the Suitcase” book is available on the Advocates of Silenced Turkey website.

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