Koçak (28) was on a death fast for a fair trial after having been convicted of aggravated life imprisonment.
CAIRO – 25 April 2020: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is facing public accusations of releasing criminals and terrorists and instead kill Turkish young men in his prisons, head of the Human Rights Association (İHD), Öztürk Türkdoğan, has said in a statement.
The statement came after a statement by representatives from the People’s Law Office (HHB) has said Mustafa Koçak, who was serving a life sentence over charges related to the killing of a Turkish prosecutor, died after 297 days on an extreme hunger strike where he only took sugar water.
Kocak was sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment – with no prospect of parole – in July 2019 after claims that he had been involved in the kidnap of public prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz, despite a lack of concrete evidence.
The Morning Star reported that he was accused by the authorities of being a member of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front — deemed a terrorist organization in Turkey.
But the case against him was based on the testimony of a government informer, Berk Ercan, whose evidence has been used to jail at least 346 people related to anti-government protests.
When he was first detained in 2017, Kocak described being subjected to physical and psychological torture with his interrogators threatening to rape his pregnant sister unless he gave a statement, which he refused.
A harrowing recording detailed the last conversation with his family as they pleaded for him to hold on, with his parents saying they would sacrifice their lives for him. But he said that he couldn’t last much longer.
“My whole body is swollen, and my stomach. I haven’t been able to breathe for the last two days,” he said.
Kocak is the second person to die on hunger strike this month. Grup Yorum singer Helin Bolek passed away after 288 days of hunger strike.
Tributes poured in from across the political spectrum with the Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) insisting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his friends would be known as the “government where people die for justice.”
Türkdoğan has said in earlier remarks that İHD’s annual report listed the highest number of human rights violations since its establishment on July 17, 1986.
“The violation of one’s right to freedom, meaning arbitrary detentions and arrests, are at the highest level. People are being arrested over their thoughts, which is the practice of preventing and punishing freedom of expression. One of the direst developments is the claims of people going missing under detention, which hasn’t been experienced since 2004. There are 11 abduction claims that we announced to the public after the thwarted coup,” he added.