Political prisoner Güler Zere, who has cancer in its fourth stage, underwent surgery for the third time in the beginning of this week on 12 October. Zere had received a 14 years prison sentence for her membership in the Revolutionary People's Front Party. Her illness started with palatal cancer which spread in her body.
Zere's lawyer Oya Aslan declared that they have been waiting for a decision from the Forensic Medicine Institute regarding her client since 5 July. During all this time Zere's disease continued to spread.
"Cervical cancer cells were growing rapidly"
Aslan explained that Zere, who was not released in spite of her critical health condition, underwent 3 major surgeries within the last 7 months,
"She was treated with radio therapy for 6 weeks. Regardless of the reports you could understand the severity of Zere's condition just by looking at the treatment. Her radio therapy was completed on 2 September. She was supposed to wait for 3 months until her body was going to be scanned for cancer cells. However, 1 month after the radio therapy fast growing cancer cells were detected on the right side of her cervix. According to the doctors' statement the cancer cells were growing aggressively. Zere will start chemo therapy immediately".
Handcuffs were not removed despite doctor's disapproval
When Zere was taken to the intensive care unit due to the operation, her feet were still cuffed on grounds of a possible flight risk. Lawyer Aslan comments, "Although the doctors demanded to take off the cuffs because they could have a negative effect on Zere's health, the cuffs were not removed due to a law that has not even been enforced. As if it is not enough that she cannot seize her right to freedom, in these days when Zere feels the moral support of her friends and relatives, the use of cuffs is demoralizing. Are they waiting for Güler Zere to die before a report with the 'right' decision educes out of the cumbersome procedures?"
Aslan indicated that they are not expecting any privilleges, special treatment or compassion from anybody. The lawyer stated that they request to release Güler Zere by applying the law and to recognize the freedom that she deserves.
Zere waiting for a decision for several months
The Elbistan (Adana) prosecutor's office asked for a report from the Çukurova University Forensic Medicine Department about cancer patient Zere. On 22 June, the department said that "Zere can be counted as severely disabled, her life is under severe risk; she depends on the care and observation of others. It is not possible to carry out her intensive and demanding treatment, which includes radiotherapy, under prison conditions. It would be suitable to defer her sentence until she is better."
On 25 June, the prosecution asked whether the hospital's prisoner's ward was suitable and was told that it was not. However, the prosecutor did not accept this report by itself and sent Zere on a 14-hour journey to Istanbul for an examination by the Forensic Medical Institute. The Contemporary Lawyers' Association (ÇHD) has filed a criminal complaint against the prosecutor due to this procedure.
The 3rd specialized committee, headed by Dr. Nur Birgen, who was handed a six-month suspension from the Turkish Medical Association for failing to report evidence of torture, ruled that Zere could be treated in the hospital's prisoner's ward.
Zere said that the person examining her must have been blind. At the moment, Zere is kept at the Balcalı (Adana) Hospital's intensive care unit. (EÖ/VK)