Pregnant woman arrested despite regulations diagnosed with cardiac dysrhythmia in prison

 A six-months-pregnant woman who was sent to prison for alleged links to the Gülen movement in April despite regulations has been diagnosed with cardiac dysrhythmia, the Bold Medya news website reported.

Aslı Ünlü was taken to the hospital on Monday after suffering a panic attack, where she was diagnosed with dysrhythmia. The 40-year-old woman had already been experiencing a difficult pregnancy.

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.”

Ünlü’s husband, Emre Ünlü, demanded her immediate release. “What are you waiting for?” he asked authorities on Twitter. “Are you waiting for my wife to die?”

He also revealed that his wife was sharing a cell with another pregnant woman, Ceyda Nur Eroğlu, who is currently in the last weeks of her pregnancy.

 

Ünlü, who also has a 4-year-old son, was sent to a prison in western Edirne province. She was accused of using ByLock, once widely available online and considered by the government to be a tool of secret communication among supporters of the Gülen movement since a failed coup in 2016 despite the lack of any evidence that ByLock messages were related to the abortive putsch.

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 the 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.

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu expressed concern for Ünlü and her unborn child’s safety. “If anything happens to the mother and baby, will anyone be held accountable?” he asked.

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 were arbitrarily detained or arrested over their suspected links to the Gülen movement.

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