9-months-pregnant woman requests release, saying she will soon go into labor

A nine-months-pregnant woman who was sent to prison in early May has requested her release, telling her family that she is cramping and will soon go into labor, the Bold Medya news website reported.

Ceyda Nur Eroğlu asked her family for essentials for the baby such as clothes, diapers and a blanket. Eroğlu’s mother-in-law said she sounded distressed and pleaded to be released from prison immediately.

“She told me again and again that she did not want to give birth in prison,” said the mother-in-law. “She said she was having cramps and went to the doctor twice but that the doctor did not give her a medical report saying she should be released.”

Eroğlu was sentenced to six years, three months and sent to a prison in western Turkey’s Edirne province to serve a sentence for conviction of links to the Gülen movement. Her husband is also currently in prison for links to the movement.

The Law on the Execution of Sentences and Security Measures stipulates that even if a pregnant woman is convicted, her sentence shall be postponed. According to the law, “execution of the prison sentence is delayed for women who are pregnant or have given birth within the last year and a half.”

Although Eroğlu attempted to flee Turkey at one point in search of a safer life, she was unable to due to complications in her pregnancy.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, a faith-based group inspired by Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-prime minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.

Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. He intensified the crackdown on the movement following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity.

Despite regulations several pregnant women have recently been arrested for links to the movement. Ayşe Karaduran, who is currently in the fourth month of her pregnancy, was arrested on May 16. According to her husband, Karaduran lost two kilos in one week.

Aslı Ünlü, a woman in the second trimester of her pregnancy, was arrested in April despite suffering from cardiac dysrhythmia. Ünlü was released on May 12 after public pressure on authorities.

According to a report by Solidarity with OTHERS, as of November 2021 a total of 219 pregnant women and women with children under 6 years of age had been arbitrarily detained or arrested over their suspected links to the Gülen movement.

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