Human rights activist Gergerlioğlu: Turkish prisons full of mothers, babies and pregnant women

Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a prominent human rights activist and former head of human rights association Mazlum-Der, has brought the babies, pregnant women and mothers kept in the prisons within the scope of the state of emergency (OHAL) to the agenda in an article.

Gergerlioğlu wrote in his column on online news portal Artı Gerçek on Tuesday that “According to the Law No. 5275, ‘The sentence of imprisonment is to be left behind/postponed for women who are pregnant or have not passed six months since the conception of birth.’ However, the implementation is not like that.”

Stating “Enough is enough, Edi bese..!” Gergerlioğlu wrote that “I do not know in which language to say…! In Turkish, Kurdish or other language? I do not know which language you will understand, but it is well understood that the hearts are petrified and darkened. But just know that today the things you winked at may cause a great remorse tomorrow, because the loss of petrified and blackened hearts is only to itself.”

There are currently more than 17,000 women and over 700 babies and children in prisons across Turkey.

The full text of Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu’s article is as follow:

“Prisons are full of mothers, babies and pregnant women

According to the Law No. 5275, ‘The sentence of imprisonment is to be left behind/postponed for women who are pregnant or have not passed six months since the conception of birth.’ However, the implementation is not like that.

There is a great deal of trouble in prisons, and this is a very heartbreaking and most unheard matter. The biggest oppression is born by the women having difficulties in all areas of life who wasted away under pressure. Their innocent babies are the ones experiencing the partnership of this difficulty compulsorily…

Maybe you couldn’t watch, if you didn’t I suggest you watch a video circulating in social media. A six-year-old child is hugging a teacher in class, shedding tears sincerely in an ineffable way, his parents both were arrested, after hearing they are released, the boy is expressing his happiness by shedding tears, did you see that?

The facial expression of that boy hugging his teacher for minutes tells us his stories which are very long and very difficult. Those tears explain his very big tragedies and ordeals in innocent language. Is there any other slap that is so meaningful as the deep suffering of a child who has been away from his mother and his father for months, hit in the insensitive, unscrupulous hearts..? Imagine there are thousands of children like this. Prolonged periods of detention with arbitrary decisions, in other words, periods of detention that turned into punishment… This persecution is made with very offhand and arbitrary procedures. Do you know what the tears of that boy are capable of?

What kind of arbitrary procedures are they? Even the law is flouted today. There is a very clear law, but finding a legal authority to apply is impossible! The law is so clear. According to article 16/4 of the Law No. 5275, “The sentence of imprisonment is to be left behind postponed for women who are pregnant or have not passed six months since the conception of birth…”

Article 116 of the same law is also implemented for the ‘prisoners.’ Accordingly, the arrest of those who are pregnant and have baby smaller than six months old is prohibited and illegal.

But the implementations..? Actually, it is not like that at all. Ayşe Ateş, a former revenue specialist who got sacked by a statutory decree, was kept in Şakran Prison while she was pregnant for 5 months, now 9 months pregnant, she was the personification of how the Law No. 5275 that a pregnant woman shouldn’t be arrested, is being violated… and her friends in the ward… babies… She stays with the other mothers and their babies in her ward. Apparently, if this silence persists, a new baby will soon be joining the other babies in that ward. Infants and children, who are unable to see their fathers, who are forced to grow up in places that are against nature, the imprisoned children…

Sümeyye Özkurt, who was pregnant, was arrested on October 28, started to have problem due to stress. 2 weeks before the estimated due date, her labor contractions started and she had a premature delivery by cesarean section, even no companion was allowed, the puerperant lady was alone after her delivery during the following night and will be sent back to the prison. At the door of the delivery room, the gendarmes were hardly allowed to meet her family, and her mother could have been accompanied by a delay. How many puerperant women will experience this stress immediately after giving birth?..

Imagine as a woman, the moment when you are the weakest, the most tired materially and spiritually, police wait for you at the door… Could there be a person who can interpret this ideologically? We have a very human, heartbreaking tragedy in front of us. Is it your heart to decide to whom it is made? Only a non-human person carry on with such a criterion. It is not one or two, we couldn’t count how many women had the same experience.

No matter how you interpret it, this implementation is garbage.

Very clearly Law No. 5275 is violated. Leave the law aside, you trample your sense of justice, your conscience and your humanity. This, this… what kind of mood is this…!?

Meşale Tolu was released yesterday (Monday) after an 8-month imprisonment with a 3-year-old child. But let’s not forget that there are nearly 700 babies and 17,000 mothers in prisons. And there is teacher Ayşe Çelik who is going to be imprisoned with her newborn baby because she said “Don’t let the kids die.” A mother who had a newborn baby and is suffering everyday from the stress of conviction… Regardless of which ideology, mothers are experiencing this stress more intensely than ever before in the history of the republic of Turkey.

It can not be a human who torture, but torture is increasing. In detention centers and prisons, hellish torture is obviously in the practice. Do you know how? In spite of the reports, the patients who were kept in jail, breast-feeding mothers, lactating babies. 

And also the unscrupulous people who legitimize the torture by laughing.!

Wherever we look, we face with torture claims. Is the torture legitimate if a person is an opposition? Wherever we look, the lawlessness flares. Neither a courthouse we have nor a natural justice… Wherever we look, despotism springs. Neither democracy left nor consultation…

Enough is enough, Edi bese..! I do not know in which language to say…! In Turkish, Kurdish or other language? I do not know which language you will understand, but it is well understood that the hearts are petrified and darkened. But just know that today the things you winked at may cause a great remorse tomorrow, because the loss of petrified and blackened hearts is only to itself.”

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