Bilal Konakçı, a former bomb disposal expert who lost his right hand and both eyes while trying to dispose of a bomb in 2009, is in his 160th day of imprisonment on charges of membership in the Gulen group, accused of masterminding a coup attempt in 2016. The group denies any involvement.
Konakçı was a decorated police officer whose life was upended in 2009 after a bomb left in front of a school in İzmir detonated while he was trying to defuse it. Besides losing his eyesight and right hand, he also lost some of the fingers on his left hand. He has difficulty walking as well as hearing loss.
Konakçı was arrested after a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 for alleged links to the Gülen group. He was accused of terrorism for having an account at Bank Asya, a commercial bank founded by businessmen affiliated with the Gülen group, and for using the ByLock messaging app. He was released and put under house arrest after remaining in police custody and jail for more than a month.
İn late 2019, he was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months in prison. He has been held in the İzmir F Type prison since February 17, 2021.
He was re-arrested in February after Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals upheld a conviction and sentence handed down on the charge of membership in a terrorist organization.