Relatives and lawyers of Fabien Azoulay, a Frenchman sentenced to sixteen years in prison by Turkish courts for possession of narcotics, say they are worried about the detainee's safety and demand his transfer to France.
"He was the victim of aggravated violence committed by a fellow detainee, who inflicted burns on him because of his homosexuality and his belonging to the Jewish religion," his lawyers said on Monday in a statement, mentioning for the first time publicly the case of this 43-year-old Frenchman, detained for four years in Turkey.
During a short trip to Istanbul in 2017 to make hair implants, Fabien Azoulay was arrested for having bought a vial of GBL, a solvent used as a stimulant, on the Internet.
“It is a detergent for car rims, which had been banned in Turkey six months earlier, which my client did not know.
He had this bottle delivered to his hotel in good faith, ”said his lawyer, Carole-Olivia Montenot.
The French, who also has American nationality, was imprisoned and then tried in February 2018 and found guilty at the end of a fifteen-minute hearing, "of importing narcotics", according to his lawyers.
He was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment, reduced to sixteen years and eight months by the judge.
Once his sentence was confirmed on appeal, a request for transfer to France was filed in May 2019 by his lawyers.
But according to Me Montenot, two years later, on March 12, the Quai d'Orsay still had not received the Ankara file.
His brother cries out for "miscarriage of justice"
When questioned, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was "fully mobilized on Fabien Azoulay's situation" and also "to be in regular contact with the Turkish authorities to inquire about his situation and the progress of his request for transfer to France. ".
The Turkish authorities have not responded to AFP's requests on this affair.
Fabien Azoulay was recently transferred to a prison in Giresun, on the shores of the Black Sea, 800 km from Istanbul.
"He could not be more depressed, he is as discreet as possible, prison life in Turkey is very difficult," confided his brother, Xavier Azoulay, who cried out for "judicial error", and called for his transfer on as quickly as possible in France.
"He is totally desperate, he has thought several times about committing suicide and that his life is quite simply in danger in prison", declared Me François Zimeray, lawyer of the Frenchman, on BFMTV on Sunday.