Havva Dönmez, a 36-year Turkish woman with advanced thyroid cancer, was sent to prison late on Tuesday over alleged links to Turkey’s Gulen group, which the government accuses of masterminding a coup attempt in 2016. The group denies any involvement.

According to the tweets posted by a social media user, Dönmez was fired from her job as teacher with decrees issued by the government in the aftermath of the coup attempt. She was later investigated over alleged links to the Gulen group. Her husband, Bekir Dönmez, was also sent to prison on Tuesday over similar charges.

Since the beginning of the purge in Turkey in the aftermath of the failed July 15 coup attempt, at least half of million people have been investigated while 96,000 others have been jailed due to alleged links to the Gülen group. According to the Turkish Interior Ministry, there are currently 25,655 people in Turkey’s prisons who were jailed over alleged terror, coup links.

The purge has resulted in a drastic increase of political prisoners in Turkish prisons, some of whom are severely ill.

According to the Human Rights Association (İHD), there are more than 1,605 sick prisoners in Turkish prisons, approximately 604 of whom are critically ill. Although most of the seriously ill patients have forensic and medical reports deeming them unfit to remain in prison, they are not released. Authorities refuse to release them on the grounds that they pose a potential danger to society. In the first eight months of 2020, five critically ill prisoners passed away because they were not released in time to receive proper medical treatment.

Since April 2020, four seriously ill prisoners over the age of 70 have died in penal institutions; five inmates suffering from cancer died shortly after they were released; and 16 died of chronic illnesses while imprisoned.