“My father is desperately homesick for his village”: Video released for seriously ill prisoner Mehmet Emin Özkan

News About Turkey - NAT
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The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has shared a video on social media, which was prepared to draw attention to the condition of seriously ill prisoner Mehmet Emin Özkan.

“I am Mehmet Emin Özkan, I have been imprisoned for 26 years despite many serious illnesses, even though I have been proved innocent!” was the post over the shared video in the HDP’s official account.

The following statements were included in the video, which was narrated by his son and his lawyer.

“My father was a down-to-earth person. He had never even left his home village. Right up until 26 years ago. He was one of thousands of Kurds chosen by the state as victims. He got a life sentence after he was arrested with the accusation of being the man responsible for the assassination of Bahtiyar Aydın in Lice in 1993. Although it was soon revealed that he was innocent, he is still inside. My father has been repeatedly moved from prison to prison. His name had been put on the sick prisoners list many times. Demonstrations have been held calling for his freedom. But when you are a Kurd, your innocence does not mean anything in these lands. Can he ever imagine the blue of the sky, the smell of the earth, or himself sitting under the shade of a tree in his garden?

My father is desperately homesick for his village.”

“My client Mehmet Emin Özkan has still not been released from prison although it has been known for 26 years that he is innocent. Özkan, who has two sons who are also in prison, has been moved from prison to prison countless times. He has had five strokes and four angiography surgeries. Özkan is considered 87 percent extremely sick, has numerous health problems such as heart diseases, high blood pressure, toxic goitre, bone degeneration, kidney and intestinal problems, abnormal weight loss, eye and hearing problems and dementia. But despite all of our efforts he is not being released.”

Özkan is currently being held in Diyarbakır Prison, in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır (Amed), and he is no longer able meet his own personal needs without the help of others, but the Turkish authorities still insist on keeping him in prison as part of their policy of not releasing sick prisoners until their last dying breath.


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