Turkish teacher Ayşe Çelik, who was jailed with her baby earlier this month on terror charges because she had said, “Don’t let children die” on a TV program, was released by a Turkish court from Diyarbakır E Type Closed Prison on Friday.
The court’s decision was announced by Çelik’s lawyer, Mahsuni Karaman, on his personal Twitter account. Karaman later told BBC Türkçe that he applied to the court for Çelik’s release three days ago and that the court decided today to release her. Karaman also said that Çelik is already at home.
Turkey’s Constitutional Court had rejected an individual application from Çelik in which she asked to be released on judicial probation, according to a previous tweet from Çelik’s lawyer.
An investigation was launched into Çelik after she called in to the popular “Beyaz Show“ on Jan. 8, 2016 and urged authorities to take action to prevent the killing of children in clashes between Turkish security forces and the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
During the TV program, Çelik said: “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, Beyazıt 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 Public 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.
In the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, more than 17,000 women from all walks of life including teachers, doctors and housewives have been jailed in Turkey on coup charges in government-led operations. There are currently more than 700 children accompanying their mothers in Turkish jails.
Women who have been jailed in an unprecedented crackdown have been 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 2017 by SCF revealed.
In several cases, women were detained in the hospital immediately after the delivery of a baby and before they had a chance to recover. Many women were jailed as they were visiting their imprisoned husbands, leaving the children stranded in the ensuing chaos.