Turkish gov’t sends teacher with baby to prison in 10 days for allegedly ‘praising terrorism’ during live show

Ayşe Çelik, a Turkish teacher who was sentenced to one year and three months in prison for allegedly “praising terrorism and a terrorist organization” in 2016, was notified on Friday that her sentence will commence in 10 days, Turkish human rights advocate Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu said.

Çelik was sentenced to one year, three months in April 2017 and a regional Turkish court approved a 15-months prison sentence in October.

On the night of Jan 8, 2016, a woman who introduced herself as Ayşe Çelik went live on the “Beyaz Show,” hosted by renowned Turkish comedian Beyazıt Öztürk, and talked about the clashes that had been raging for months between Kurdish militants and Turkish security forces in Diyarbakır, the largest city of the mainly Kurdish Southeast.

“Are you aware of what’s going on in the country’s east? What’s happening here is misrepresented on television. Don’t stay silent! Please show more sensitivity as human beings! See us, hear us and give us a hand! I’d like to address the teachers who have abandoned their students. How are they going to return there? How are they going to look those innocent children in the eye? What a pity! Don’t let people die. Don’t let children die. Don’t let mothers cry.”

The host of the program, Öztürk, had the audience applaud her by saying: “We are trying our best to make it heard. Your words have been a lesson for us. We will continue to do more. Hopefully your wishes for peace will be realized as soon as possible.”

Following the show, the Diyarbakır Chief Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into Çelik for “praising terrorism and a terrorist organization,” and the Bakırköy Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office initiated a separate investigation into Öztürk and Çelik on similar charges.

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. Especially, women who have gone to hospitals for birth control or deliverance have been clear target for the police officers. Despite the Turkish Penal Code numbered 5275 openly states that “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. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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