Ergenekon suspect Hilmioglu taken to ATK for checkup

Former Inonu University Rector Fatih Hilmioglu, a prime suspect in the trial concerning the Ergenekon terrorist network, was taken to the Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK) on Wednesday for a checkup to determine whether the professor is indeed in poor health as claimed.

Hilmioglu was arrested in April 2009 pending trial as part of the ongoing investigation into Ergenekon, a clandestine network accused of working to overthrow the government.

In a hearing of the Ergenekon trial on Feb. 18, Hilmioglu claimed that he was in poor health and that being kept in prison prevents him from recovering. The court ruled that the professor be taken to the ATK for a series of health tests. Hilmioglu was escorted to the ATK by gendarmes early in the morning. Sources said he will be brought back to Silivri Prison after the medical tests are completed.

The ATK will decide whether the professor really has health problems that require him to be released from prison and taken to a hospital for treatment.

A lead prosecutor in the Ergenekon investigation is seeking an aggravated life sentence for Hilmioglu on coup charges.

Hilmioglu has frequently asked to be hospitalized due to health problems. In July 2010, he was taken to the Haseki Teaching and Research Hospital due to facial palsy and was later referred to the Ümraniye Teaching and Research Hospital for liver disease. He was then referred to Cerrahpasa Hospital for cirrhosis of the liver.

After his treatment at Cerrahpasa was completed, on March 7, 2011, Hilmioglu was sent back to the prison. On the same day of his return, Hilmioglu was taken to Silivri State Hospital for a medical checkup but was returned to prison after doctors found no problems with his health. The next day, he wanted to be hospitalized once again, this time due to symptoms of liver disease. He told officials at Silivri State Hospital that he wanted to be hospitalized because he fears his health will deteriorate in prison. Hospital officials, however, reportedly told Hilmioglu that his condition does not require hospitalization, and he spent that night in the hospital and was sent back to prison the following day.