Mother of 9-month-old baby sent to prison in defiance of legal provisions

Suna Aras, the mother of a 9-month-old baby, was sent to prison in violation of a law that requires the postponement of the execution of prison sentences for women who are pregnant or have given birth within the last year and a half.

According to a tweet by human rights activist and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, Aras’s sentence was upheld by Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals, and she will remain in prison for 20 months.

In his tweet Gergerlioğlu said Aras’s aunt is currently taking care of the baby.

According to legal experts, the arrest of pregnant women or women with babies falls afoul of the Law on the Execution of Sentences and Security Measures, which stipulates that “execution of the prison sentence is delayed for women who are pregnant or have given birth within the last year and a half.” But the detention and arrest of pregnant women and mothers with babies have been continuing unabated in Turkey.

In June HDP deputy Gergerlioğlu submitted a parliamentary question to Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül about similar cases. He asked if any investigations had been launched into judges and prosecutors who have approved the arrest of pregnant women or women who have given birth within the last 18 months for violating the Law on the Execution of Sentences and Security Measures. He also inquired if they have received secret instructions to approve the arrests.

Gergerlioğlu also filed a complaint with the Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) claiming that by acting against the relevant laws and the criteria set by the European Court of Human Rights regarding arrests, judges and prosecutors have abused their power and therefore must be criminally prosecuted.

The detention and arrest of pregnant women and mothers with young children dramatically increased in Turkey in the aftermath of a July 2016 coup attempt.

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