7-months-pregnant woman imprisoned for past month in northwestern Turkey

Hatice Avuloğlu

Hatice Avuloğlu, 34, has been held in an Edirne prison since mid-August despite being seven months pregnant, the Kronos news website reported on Tuesday.

Avuloğlu was reportedly arrested on August 18 due to her alleged attempt to flee to Greece to avoid an impending imprisonment on charges of membership in the faith-based Gülen movement. She was previously sentenced to six years, three months on terrorism-related charges due to her work for a labor union that was shut down over its affiliation with the movement. Her case is pending before the Supreme Court of Appeals (Yargıtay).

Speaking to Kronos, Avuloğlu’s husband said the prison authorities were not delivering her prescribed medication on time or following up on her gestational diabetes, a pregnancy-related condition that needs to be regularly monitored.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen group of orchestrating a failed military coup in July 2016. The movement denies any involvement in the abortive putsch.

After the coup, Turkish authorities retroactively criminalized involvement with Gülen-affiliated media outlets, educational institutions, financial institutions, civil society organizations and labor unions even though they were operating legally up until their summary closure. Courts in Turkey commonly accept any links to these organizations as evidence of terrorism. Although Turkey’s laws stipulate the postponement of the imprisonment of women who are pregnant even when they are found guilty, the authorities have in recent years repeatedly disregarded these provisions by keeping pregnant women behind bars, particularly those prosecuted or convicted on political charges.

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