Pregnant woman kept in prison over Gülen links despite regulations

Four-month-pregnant Dudu Arduç, 29, in contravention of regulations is being held in an Antalya prison on terrorism charges for her alleged links to the Gülen movement, the Bold Medya news website reported.

Arduç was detained on September 17 on accusations of abetting a terrorist organization. In a tweet on Monday human rights defender and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu said Arduç faces a risk of miscarriage due to blood pressure problems. She therefore has to visit a hospital frequently, which means she has to stay in a quarantine cell for 15 days after each visit.

Arduç also has two other children aged 8 and 6 who she left behind. She is being held in pre-trial detention despite the Law on the Execution of Sentences and Security Measures, which stipulates that even if a pregnant woman is convicted, her sentence must 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.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, 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.

According to a report by Solidarity with OTHERS, a nongovernmental organization comprising mainly political exiles from Turkey, 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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