Expression Interrupted

Journalists and academics bear the brunt of the massive crackdown on freedom of expression in Turkey. Scores of them are currently subject to criminal investigations or behind bars. This website is dedicated to tracking the legal process against them.

Journalist Mevlüt Öztaş sent to prison despite medical report

Journalist Mevlüt Öztaş sent to prison despite medical report

Öztaş’s condition is not fit for detention, according to a medical report issued by doctors treating the journalist for pancreatic cancer


Jailed journalist Mevlüt Öztaş, who was hospitalized in April after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, was recently discharged from hospital and sent back to prison despite a medical report by his doctors, who said that Öztaş’s condition was not fit for detention.

In their report dated 28 May 2020, the medical board of the Ankara Dışkapı Yıldırım Beyazıt Training and Research Hospital asserted that Öztaş faced risk of death due to his condition and that he was not fit for detention. The report said Öztaş would need medical care during the course of his treatment for pancreatic cancer and that his sentence should be postponed.

However, despite the medical report, Öztaş was sent back to prison after being discharged from hospital on 1 June.

Öztaş, a former reporter for the shuttered Cihan news agency, was jailed pending trial in February 2018 on the charge of “membership of a terrorist organization” and sent to the Afyon No. 1 T Type Closed Prison. At the end of his trial, in February 2019, Öztaş was sentenced to 9 years and 3 months in prison. After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier this year, Öztaş was transferred to the Ankara Sincan No. 3 L Type Prison to undergo treatment.

Öztaş has also been suffering from a number of chronic illnesses including asthma, high blood pressure and chronic kidney failure, all of which have advanced during his time in detention.

Öztaş’s family has filed a petition with the regional court of appeals, seeking the journalist’s urgent release based on the medical board’s report.