Disabled college student Kayhan Tüney has remained under arrest at Edirne Prison for a year and a half in connection with terrorism related charges.
Law enforcement officials first took him under custody on Feb. 11, 2011 for his involvement in the Democratic Patriotic Youth (DYG,) the youth branch of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP.)
He stands among some 71 other suspects in the DYG trial, the next hearing of which is scheduled for Sept. 21.
The summary of proceedings prepared by the police claims that Tüney was involved in brawls at Istanbul University where he is enrolled as a sophomore student and charge him with battery against another person. Tüney's lawyer, however, has already presented a report to the court dating back to 2008 which indicates that her client's right arm and left leg are 70 percent disabled.
"The person cannot use the affected extremity in his daily maintenance and activities. He walks across short distances with difficulty and without assistance, but his locomotion is limited to flat surfaces," the report reads.
The indictment against him lists a number of accusations againt Tüney, including his attendance in an allegedly outlawed meeting at a BDP building and other press releases on conscientious objection and the demand for education in one's native tounge.
"Under strain to meet his needs in prison"
"The police claims this person was involved in brawls; look," Tüney's lawyer Ayşe Acanıklı told court officials in the previous hearing of the trial, as she asked her client to stand up in the courtroom.
Lawyer Acanıklı also said they had requested a voice analysis report from the Forensics Insitute to shed light on whether Tüney had really participated in the "illegal" meeting at the BDP building, but to no avail, as the court rejected their request.
"The reason for Tüney's imprisonment is his membership in the DYG, a legal organization. There is no evidence [to justify] his imprisonment anyway. Moreover, he goes under great strain to meet his needs due to his disability. He has a [medical] report; there is no reason not to release him," Acanaklı said.
Tüney's elder sister Sevgi Tüney futher noted that authorities had arrested her brother a month after he started undergoing physiotherapy, which was also cut short due to his imprisonment.
"Kayhan is not talking much about prison conditions to spare us from distress. We know he has difficulty managing his [daily] affairs all by himself, however. I am certain he did not fancy it much when he was [asked] to stand up in the courtroom. There was a claim of battery against him, however, and the lawyer wanted to demonstrate the impossibility of that. There is nothing that necessitates him to remain under arrest; we are anticipating his release in September," she said.
"Prisons swelling with thought criminals"
"There is an incredible surge in the number of [prison inmates in Turkey] due to the arrest of so many thought criminals. [Prison] conditions are dreadful. It is unsuitable for ill inmates and convicts to remain locked up under such conditions. Moreover, there are also incessant problems in the provision of health services," said Şebnem Korur Fincancı, a forensics expert and the head of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV.)
Another inmate, Hediye Aksoy, has also requested her release from President Abdullah Gül, as she is both visually impaired and afflicted with breast cancer.
Some 211 severely ill inmates are currently serving time in prisons across Turkey, 32 of whom are terminally - ill, according to a report by the Human Rights Association (IHD.)
A total of 750 students are currently under arrest, the Initiative for Solidarity with Arrested Students (TÖDİ) has also reported. (NV)