Turkish officials have agreed in principle to repatriate a French prisoner allegedly suffering antisemitic abuse in prison.
Campaigners in France say that Fabien Azoulay, 43, who is four years into a sixteen-year jail sentence for drug offences, has reportedly been subjected to abuse, harassment and mistreatment in prison in the city of Giresun because he is Jewish and “because of his sexual orientation.” The charges relate to the drug GBL, which prosecutors claim he intended to distribute. An appeals court rejected his claim that the substance was for personal use. Developed for medical use, GBL is implicated as a date-rape drug but is also popular in the gay club scene.
While Turkey’s Ambassador to France said that Turkey had “no objection in principle” to a prison transfer, the Turkish Embassy in Paris issued a statement saying that Mr Azoulay was not Jewish. “Claims that this individual is Jewish are unfounded, as his lawyers can also confirm,” noted the statement.
Carole-Olivia Montenot, a lawyer for Mr Azoulay, said that he was “being intimidated” and that his fellow prisoners “summon him to convert to Islam” and to pray five times a day. She said he was also harassed “because of his sexual orientation.”
A petition in France calling on the French government to accelerate the repatriation process received more than 80,000 signatures within three days.
Image credit: Change.org