Jul 14 2018

Turkish terror suspect’s in ‘suspicious’ prison death

A man in pre-trial detention on terror charges in Turkey’s southern city of Mersin has been found dead in suspicious circumstances, Ahval’s Turkish language site reported on Saturday.

Davut Demirkale, arrested last week, was found dead in a cell in Mersin prison, having allegedly hung himself with a bed-sheet and left behind a note saying he could not endure the injustice.

However, a local news website, Mersin Siyaset, is reported by Ahval as saying a prosecutor had launched an investigation on the grounds that Demirkale’s death was suspicious. Other, unspecified reports, suggest that he was found dead with his hands tied.

Demirkale was a relative of Mahmut Aslan, a prominent figure in Mersin society, who owns a company called Arbel Foods and who, in 2004, stood as the ruling Ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP's) candidate in mayoral elections in Mersin. Aslan was also arrested last week, but soon released under judicial control.

The death of Demirkale is the latest in a string of prison deaths in Turkey to attract suspicion since a failed 2016 coup attempt, following which authorities launched an unprecedented purge that landed tens of thousands in jail.

Reports of human rights abuses of prisoners, including torture and murder, have circulated widely since the coup attempt and been documented by numerous groups including Human Rights Watch.