Fatma Bektaş, a 48-year-old Izmir woman has been in pretrial detention for the past 15 months despite her medical problems including Alzheimer.
Detained as part of a police raid on a Quran teaching school in Izmir on Sept 27, 2016, Bektaş spent 3 days under police custody before being put in pretrial detention on Sept 30. The operation was carried out as part of an investigation into the Gulen movement and Bektaş who volunteered as a janitor at the school found herself behind bars as well.
Yeni Asya daily newspaper said Friday that Bektaş has been suffering from a variety of illnesses including spinal disc herniation and Alzheimer. She reportedly failed to deliver her defense statement during two court appearances and she often forgets to take her pills. The daily said Bektaş has also failed to locate her holding cell in prison on multiple occasions.
Meanwhile, she had a heart attack while under custody between Sept 27 to 30, and doctors found cyst in her ovaries which led her suffer from excess bleeding in the following two months.
“She is a high-school-graduate housewife who studied by distance learning. She has a grandchild and three children, of whom 2 are married. …She volunteered for free to deal with female students’ basic needs like food and accommodation at the mentioned Quran teaching school which is officially administered by the state-run Diyanet. She is a mother who has never held a gun and who has tried only to earn God’s blessings,” Bektaş’s husband told Yeni Asya.
Turkish government accuses the Gulen movement of masterminding the July 15, 2016 coup attempt and considers it an armed terror group while the latter denies such accusations. Some 150,000 people have passed through custodies across Turkey and nearly 60,000 of them have been put in pretrial detention since the summer of 2016.
The court in charge refused to release her on the first two hearings on July 5 and Nov 22, 2017 while the next hearing was scheduled for 4.5 months later. Just a day before the hearing on July 5, Bektaş was transferred from a prison in her hometown of Izmir to Bakirkoy prison in Istanbul.
Bektaş was also denied request to be released on medical problems.