Yusuf Özmen, a purge-victim cancer patient who was arrested in March 2021 to serve a sentence on a Gülen-linked conviction, has reportedly been held in a solitary confinement at an İstanbul prison ever since.

According to Turkish journalist Sevinç Özarslan, Özmen’s prostate cancer spread to his lungs in prison and thus a medical report signed by 40 doctors said he was not fit to remain in prison. However, the Istanbul Institute of Forensic Medicine issued a contrary health report to allow the continuation of his imprisonment.

Özmen was first arrested in 2018, when he had stage 3 cancer, and was in pretrial detention for 18 months. During his time in prison, he underwent major surgery and was sent back to prison six days later. Özmen was released pending trial in 2019 but was re-arrested in March after the Supreme Court of Appeals upheld an eight year, nine month prison sentence.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, a faith-based group inspired by Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.

Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members.

Erdoğan intensified the crackdown on the movement following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity.