"I cry and pray every day for a miracle," Fabian Azoulay, a French Jew, wrote to his family after being imprisoned in the Gerson prison in Turkey for a drug offense. "I can not imagine myself here for another 16 years and eight months.”
According to a report in Israel Hayom, Azoulay was sentenced in 2017 to 16 years and eight months in prison. His case has recently attracted significant attention as his lawyers and family members push to have him extradited to France.
Israel Hayom reports that Azoulay, 43, has been incarcerated for the past four years. He is gay, and claims that he is harassed and threatened both because of his sexual orientation and because of his religion. He came to Turkey four years ago, like many Israelis do, for a hair transplant. He bought GBL, a party drug, for $300, from a website in Lithuania with delivery to his hotel in Turkey, and claimed he did not know that its use was banned in the country. Turkish customs seized the shipment and arrested the recipient.
"The prison is seriously overcrowded," the French-Jewish prisoner continued his letter which was revealed by Israel Hayom. "To go to the bathroom during the night, we have to walk on sleeping people. When they wake up, they get upset. Sometimes there are fights."
"The situation is terrible," one of his lawyers, Carol-Olivia Montano, told France 24. She said, "He is harassed by other prisoners who tell him to convert to Islam and pray five times a day, as well as because of his sexual orientation." She added that "the use of the drug was banned in Turkey a few months earlier, and the ordering site had not been properly updated. He did not know it was illegal." Sophie Wiesenfeld, president of the support organization for Mr. Azoulay, added that "his conditions of imprisonment constitute a violation of human dignity."