Mehmet Tarhan’s lawyer’s statement
17 June 2005

Suna Coşkun read out this statement in Ankara at a joint press conference hosted by Turkey Human Rights Association and Organisation of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed People (MAZLUMDER):

We later learned what exactly Mehmet Tarhan went through on Monday June 13, 2005 when he was sent to the Sivas military hospital after he was returned from Tokat.

When he was taken to the military hospital, they wanted to give him a serum called “dextrose”. Since Mehmet had some information on this health issue, he said this serum would be harmful to his health and resisted against it.

Later, the military hospital personnel contacted the military doctor who routinely checks Mehmet’s health in the Sivas military prison, and he too confirmed that this (i.e. giving him dextrose) would be wrong. Instead he was given “isotonic serum”.

During the meeting I held with Mehmet yesterday late afternoon (June 16 Thursday), he told me that although he had signed a document saying he would not accept medical intervention and therapy in the hospital, he was insistently forced to be given a serum containing dextrose, but he had prevented that from happening and THEN they gave him the isotonic serum.

About whether he should continue with the hunger strike or not… He is hunger striking in order to obtain equal rights with other inmates and to protest the tortures that was applied and would be applied to him. However positive developments have taken place since the military prison authority has recognized his rights. Mehmet Tarhan has equal rights with other inmates right now. His TV set has been given back. He can receive his letters etc.

However, Mehmet demands to be transferred to a civilian general hospital when he ends his hunger strike so that he can be given the required therapy. Unless this demand is met, Mehmet Tarhan says he will continue with the hunger strike. If he is transferred to a civilian general hospital today (17 June 2005), Mehmet is going to end the hunger strike.

The most important aspect of all this is, when Mehmet ends his hunger strike, the military hospital does not have in its stocks the necessary pure B1 vitamin and all the other medication doctors recommend to be used.

Therefore, we are currently carrying on our contacts with the military chief physician and the public prosecutor.

Since it is the lunch break now, we are awaiting (to resume our contacts- translators note) 14:00 hours.

On the other hand, although we made a written appeal to Turkish Union of Doctors and Sivas Chamber of Doctors about 5 days ago, they have not launched an initiative as of now. The only thing we know is Sivas Chamber of Doctors sent a written appeal to the Sivas military prison and still expecting an answer from them (i.e. the military prison authorities).

We are also continuing our one-to-one meetings with the Union and Chamber of Doctors and trying to obtain good results.

When we obtain good results, I will write again.