Ahmet Mağden, a 63-year-old retired electrical engineer who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, has been in prison since June 2021 over alleged links to the Gulen group, which the Turkish gov’t accuses of masterminding a coup attempt in 2016.

The group denies any involvement.

According to Turkish journalist Sevinç Özarslan, the purge-victim man is accused of having membership in a “terrorist” organization.

Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that causes unintended or uncontrollable movements, such as shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination. Symptoms usually begin gradually and worsen over time. As the disease progresses, people may have difficulty walking and talking.

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 over 96,000 others have been jailed due to alleged links to the Gülen group.  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.