New proof has emerged on conditions of torture and ill-treatment inside Turkish prisons. A video published on Turkey Purge news portal showed a Turkish teacher named Gökhan Açıkkollu, who was arrested on charges of links to the alleged coup attempt in 2016, dying after suffering inside his prison cell as a result of being tortured.
Bold Medya released a video on its Youtube channel showing the teacher, along with four other detainees, appearing in a cell inside a police station in Istanbul, trying in vain to get help from the guards.
According to the testimony of his colleagues in prison, the Turkish teacher was returned one day to his cell almost unconscious after being tortured.
In 2016, Turkish authorities arrested Açıkkollu, 42, and dismissed him from his job after charging him with terrorism over alleged links to the Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen’s movement. He was detained and subjected to13 days of physical and psychological torture and abuse until death, Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) reported.
The report said that Açıkkollu would have been acquitted from the charge of alleged involvement in the coup attempt if he had survived.
Açıkkollu was beaten so severely that his head was bashed against a wall. His medical examination before being held in custody showed no signs of heart problems; until now, he was declared dead due to heart failure.
When he collapsed and ultimately died in his cell, emergency services were called late, and official records were being processed to claim that he had died in hospital, the SCF report said.
Professor Şebnem Korur Fincancı, the president of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV), confirmed that Açıkkollu died of a heart attack on August 5th, 2016, due to torture during his detention.
His family discovered his death when they were summoned to the Istanbul Institute of Forensic Medicine. They were told that the funeral could be held provided that he be buried in a “graveyard for traitors” prepared by the Istanbul municipality for alleged “traitors”, although he had not been formally tried or even interrogated.
The Imams appointed by the Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) refused to announce the funeral prayer for Açıkkollu. Due to such callous treatment, Açıkkollu’s family had to mummify his body by themselves and obliged to take him to his hometown in the Ahırlı district of Konya province using their own vehicle.
Habib Erturk, alleged to be the informant who accused Açıkkollu, withdrew his statements in custody and before the court. He told the court that the charges against Açıkkollu were fabricated by the police and that he had to sign these fabricated statements under duress.