Turkish woman sent back to jail with her newborn baby a day after delivery

Ayşe Ateş, who was jailed when she was five months pregnant due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, gave birth at an İzmir hospital on Tuesday and was sent back to jail on Wednesday with her newborn baby.

While Ateş was at the hospital awaiting delivery, gendarmes waited in front of her room to prevent relatives from seeing her. Even the woman’s mother was not allowed to see the newborn infant.

Ateş, a public servant who was dismissed from his job and later put in pre-trial detention by a Turkish court over her alleged links to the Gülen movement. Ateş who was 6-month pregnant when put in pre-trial detention, was taken to Çiğli state hospital to give birth on Sunday. After the birth of her baby at İzmir’s Çiğli State Hospital, Ateş was sent back to Şakran Prison in İzmir where she has been incarcerated for four months.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu voiced criticism of the treatment received by Ateş with a message from his Twitter account on Wednesday.

“A.A. gave birth to a baby alone at a hospital with no relatives given a chance to see her. The baby’s grandmother was not even allowed to see the infant in another room. The 1-day-old baby was taken back to the prison. A.A. has not been convicted. She has not even stood trial. Such acts of cruelty have never before been recorded in our history,” Tanrıkulu tweeted, addressing Turkey’s Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül.

 

The prison facilities provided to pregnant women and the women having babies under who were imprisoned in contravention of the laws are very limited. Many prisons are struggling to meet the needs of babies. In some prisons, 20 female prisoners with 4 infants have to stay in 8-person ward. Some women lye with a baby on a blanket laid on the concrete floor.

According to accounts of those who released from the prisons, the crib rate for babies is very low, the mother and the baby are lying together in the bunk. They need to entrust their babies to their friends in order to use the bathroom.

Moreover, there are no additional foods such as yogurt, eggs or soup to be given to babies. There are no areas where children would crawl and play. Needs like baby cloth, wet wipes are delayed for weeks and given insufficiently. Infants who have fever or are sick can have up to one day waiting time to go to the hospital. Needs like a walker are not given. There is no additional time for babies in open visit.

Following the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 more than 17,000 women with 668 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.

A total of 48,305 people were arrested by courts across Turkey in 2017 over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, said Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Dec. 2, 2018. “The number of detentions is nearly three times higher,” Soylu told a security meeting in İstanbul and claimed that “Even these figures are not enough to reveal the severity of the issue.”

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. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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