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Report: Gov’t violated right to life in jailed English teacher’s death

Halime Gülsu, who was arrested on Feb. 20, 2018 for allegedly helping the faith-based Gülen movement, died on Saturday in prison in Mersin province, reportedly due to deprivation of the medication she took for lupus erythematosus.


Turkish government has violated the right to life in jailed English teacher Halime Gulsu’s death, a recent report by human rights group concluded.

Gülsu, an English teacher who was arrested on Feb. 20, 2018 for her alleged links to the Turkey’s Gülen group, died on April 2018 in a Mersin prison. Gulsu was among a group of women who were arrested for organizing aid activities for the families of people dismissed from their civil service jobs following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

She was suffering from systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), a heterogeneous, inflammatory, multisystem autoimmune disease in which antinuclear antibodies occur often years before clinical symptoms.

The Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (Mazlumder) said in a report on May 17, 2019 that Gulsu’s death was caused by the government’s violation of her right to life.

“According to the investigation our doctors made, the disease that Halime Gulsu was diagnosed with (SLE- Systemic lupus erythematosus) becomes a terminal illness if it is not contained by medicine. …It was concluded that Gulsu was not allowed to meet her visiting family members in the prison and that she was denied some of her medicine during her prolonged detention period,” the report said.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government pursued a crackdown on the Gülen movement following corruption operations in December 2013 in which the inner circle of the government and then-Prime Minister Erdoğan were implicated.

Erdoğan also accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

The movement denies involvement.

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu earlier this year said the total number of people who were detained over their alleged ties to the Gülen movement since the summer of 2016 has reached to 510,000.


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