Latest victim of Turkish government’s persecution becomes days-old baby Vedat Akif

Everyday a new tragedy has been added to the story of massive persecution in Turkey where more than 17,000 innocent women and over 700 babies between 0-6 year old have been imprisoned in the framework of a post-coup witch hunt campaign orchestrated by the regime of autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. This time, the victim is newly-born Baby Vedat Akif.

According to a report by online news outlet Aktif Haber, Halime Kaman, who gave birth by cesarean section on December 1, 2017, was detained a week ago over her alleged links to the Gülen movement and kept under detention at İstanbul’s infamous Vatan Police Headquarter. Days old baby, Vedat Akif, who has to be breastfed by his mother every day, has to be brought to the police headquarter by his grandmother and his grandfather.

The report said that the legal objections made by Halime Kaman were not taken into consideration because the prosecutor handling the file has been on leave. It was learned that Kaman’s husband was also in prison over the same charges. Therefore, the baby Vedat Akif goes to the headquarter every day to be breastfed.

It was also reported that Kaman’s 4-year-old son Murat is waiting for his mother at home. Murat, who reportedly cries all the time, asks his mother.

Former President of the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed People and human rights defender Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu rebelled against this persecution and said in his Twitter account “Shame on you..! 19 days ago Halime Kaman, who delivered her baby by C-section, has been under custody for 1 week… The baby is taken to be breastfed day and night, puerperium, in the cold, this baby on the road, no one cares about it. Is humanity dead? Decide what you want to decide… It is a great pity, shame, sin!”

Gergerlioğlu’s has also stated that “I can not believe, I am writing thousands of events, but no Islamists or AKP supporters care about it at all. At last I shared this baby incident, I know that the petrified hearts have passed over it with religious arguments..!”

Following the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 more than 17,000 women with over 700 babies were jailed over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. Women are being accused of giving scholarships, arranging sales, depositing money into private lender Bank Asya, sending their children the schools affiliated with the Gülen movement, subscribing to Zaman and Bugün newspapers, using smart phone messaging application ByLock.

Women who come to hospitals for birth control or birth are clear target for the police officers. However, according to the Turkish Penal Code numbered 5275, “the sentence of imprisonment is left behind / postponed of women who are pregnant or have not passed six months since the conception of birth.” Experts say that according to the law, the arrest of pregnant women and those who have infants smaller than 6 months is not possible at all. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) also takes born or unborn child under protection.

More than 17,000 women in Turkey, many with small children, have been jailed in an unprecedented crackdown and subjected to torture and ill-treatment in detention centers and prisons as part of the government’s systematic campaign of intimidation and persecution of critics and opponents, a report titled “Jailing Women In Turkey: Systematic Campaign of Persecution and Fear released in April by SCF has also revealed.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. Turkey’s Interior Minister announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665  people have been arrested. Previously, on December 13, 2017, The Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

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