Turkish Medical Doctor Fatih Hilmio?lu Released on Medical Grounds
February 20, 2014
Photo courtesy of Kanal B., Ba?kent University
The CHR has just learned from Turkish colleagues that Fatih Hilmio?lu has been released from Silivri prison on medical grounds. Turkish doctors have testified that Dr. Hilmio?lu, a longtime case of the CHR, suffers from stage three liver cancer. Turkey’s high court, the Constitutional Court, ruled for his release on February 20, the day after it received, from his lawyers, a report by a team of nine medical experts stating that the medical treatment Dr. Hilmio?lu requires would not be possible in the Silivri prison facility. According to press statements by Dr. Hilmio?lu’s lawyer, Celal Ülgen, the Constitutional Court’s ruling was taken as a precaution and was the first of its kind. The court will send a letter to the High Criminal Court, which will rule within 15 days. He further stated that the precautionary ruling will be valid until the appeals process is completed. Dr. Hilmio?lu’s lawyers reportedly have also filed an application to the Constitutional Court stating that their client’s imprisonment is a breach of his right to life. This application is still being examined by the court. If the court rules in favor of Dr. Hilmio?lu, then his precautionary release would become final.
Dr. Hilmio?lu is a gastroenterologist and former rector of ?nönü University in Malatya. One of several Turkish scientific colleagues arrested as part of the large-scale Ergenekon trial and whose case has been undertaken by the CHR, Dr. Hilmio?lu was arrested in April 2009 in connection with what was, at the time, an ongoing investigation into what prosecutors alleged was an attempt to provoke the overthrow of the current government by military coup. In August 2013, following a four-year trial, he was convicted and sentenced to 23 years in prison, including the 4 ½ years already served in detention. Despite his already seriously deteriorated health, he was ordered to remain in prison pending the outcome of his appeal, which, like the original trial, is expected to be a lengthy process.
The CHR visited Dr. Hilmio?lu at Silivri prison during its February 2013 mission to Turkey. For more information on his case, see his case summary and the CHR’s mission report.