8,5-month pregnant woman under arrest in Turkey though baby faces heart, kidney problems

With only days to go before the delivery, a Turkish woman in Kayseri province is still held under arrest even though her baby has heart and kidney problems. Ayşe Arman, a Hürriyet daily columnist, has interviewed with Mehmet Fatih Öztürk, a lawyer representing Şule Gümüşoluk, an 8.5-months-pregnant woman who is being held in pre-trial detention at the Kayseri Closed Prison.

“According to medical reports on hand, there are problems on the baby’s heart and kidneys. The baby’s heart has a hole and his/her kidneys get growing at a pace much greater than the normal. A doctor even told Şule Gümüşoluk that the baby would have been treated before it was already late. If she was not under arrest, the baby would have been treated before it was born,” lawyer Öztürk told Arman.

The lawyer underlines that the decision to keep Şule Gümüşoluk under arrest violates not only universal treaties on children’ rights but also Turkey’s own regulations. “Lots of things that you wouldn’t believe take place during the post-coup emergency rule,” the lawyer further continued.

Since the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, Turkey has detained more than 120,000 people and jailed some 50,000 as part of its post-coup crackdown. The arrestees include several pregnant women, elderly citizens, disabled individuals and many from other vulnerable groups.

Moreover, 560 children, aged between 0 to 6, are being held in Turkish prisons along with their mothers, according to data given by Turkey’s Justice Ministry. In a written response to the main opposition Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) deputy Gamze İlgezdi’s question motion on the subject, the justice ministry announced the number of children staying along with their mothers behind bars has hit 560 in April 2016.

Children are taken into prison in the absence of family members to look after them outside. It has become a common occurrence that both parents are taken into custody leaving no one  to care for children. Turkish government, on many occasions, detained pregnant mothers as well, as in the case of Şule Gümüşoluk.

Turkey’s Justice Ministry has also reported that out of 560 children behind the bars, 114 are aged between 0 and 12 months; 128 children are 1-year-old; 114 children 2 years old; 81 children 3 years old; 70 children 4 years old; 31 children 5 years old; 5 children 6 years old; while age of the remaining 17 are unknown. (SCF with turkeypurge.com) June 1, 2017

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