The veteran Turkish journalist Halil İbrahim Balta, who was arrested and put behind the bars after a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, has reportedly overcome two serious life-critical health problems in last 15 days, however he was not allowed to meet his family.

“Having been detained for 17 months, journalist Balta is not released despite of his vital health problems,” wrote the online news outlet Kronos on Wednesday.

According to the report, journalist Balta had a laparoscopic cholecystectomy surgery at Silivri State Hospital on December 7, 2017. His family was not informed about Balta’s health situation and they came to know that one of his roommates in prison informed his wife on the open visit.

As soon as the family and relatives of Balta heard the news, they had no way of seeing him when they went to the hospital in Silivri district of İstanbul. The application they made for seeing him to the prosecutor’s office reportedly gave no result.

It was also reported that journalist Balta’s post-operation prisoner’s ward at the hospital was on the basement and near the morgue. And just 4 days after the operation, he was transferred back to prison again.

It was learned that Balta said he did not feel good, and had pain in his stomach and his head during open visit on December 11, 2017. Balta, who had gastric bleeding two days after the open visit done by his family, was hospitalised by prison authorities. However, his family could have been informed about after 5 days through his friend who shared his health conditions with his visiting family. Despite his family and his relatives running to the hospital, they were not allowed to meet journalist Halil İbrahim Balta, who was still under custody.

It is learned that Journalist Balta has lost 30 kg in last 6 months, and his imprisonment would be life-threatening in the tough prison conditions.

In a 196 page indictment, prepared by Murat Çağlak, there is not a single incident of terrorist activity on the part of any of the journalists, including Halil İbrahim Balta, as they are basically being charged for their articles, news and critical messages on Twitter.

Journalist Balta has been charged in the indictment as being a member of a terrorist organization, namely the civic Gülen movement on the basis of retweeting 4 tweets of whistle blower account Fuat Avni, 4 tweets, 2 Retweets, having 18 books written by Fethullah Gülen, a book about Gülen written by an American writer, CDs about Gülen, having a bank account at Bank Asya. Balta faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

This article originally appeared on the website of the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF).

Related News