Teoman Gökçe, a top judge and a former member of the Turkish Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK), has passed away following a heart attack in prison, media reported Monday.
Gökçe was a HSK member until he quitted in the summer of 2014 claiming that government appointments violated judicial independence.
Dismissed from his job as a judge in the aftermath of the July 15, 2016 failed coup, Gökçe was subsequently jailed on charges of links to the Gulen movement.
Under arrest since then, he suffered a heart attack in Sincan prison, Ankara and was taken to a hospital where he later died.
Critical media outlets considered Gökçe’s passing away as “suspicious death.” Meanwhile, rights activist Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu said the incident is an example of the results of lengthy periods of “pending trial under arrest.”
A total of 28 individuals, among which are police officers, prosecutors and teachers, were found dead in Turkish prisons from the failed coup attempt on July 15,2016 to April 2017, causing serious concern about the fate of thousands of civilians who have been kept in jail in very poor conditions across the country.
Turkish government blames Gulen movement for the July 15, 2016 failed coup while the latter denies involvement. More than 160,000 people passed through police custody over Gulen links since the summer of 2016.