Turkish teacher, jailed over alleged Gülen links, gives birth to her 3rd child in prison

Under arrest as part of Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged followers of the Gülen movement since Nov. 3, 2016, history teacher Özlem Meci has reprotedly given birth to her third child in prison. A mother of two, Özlem Meci delivered her third child, named Murat, on Feb. 15, 2017 but her requests for trial without arrest have remained inconclusive so far.

A former lecturer at a preparatory school established by followers of the movement in Ardahan province, Özlem Meci was arrested on charge of attempting to demolish constitutional order and of membership to a terrorist organization.

“As far as I know, it is against our Constitution to keep women in prison after they turn the 6th month in pregnancy,” Özlem Meci told the prosecutor’s office in a letter, dated Nov. 23, 2016.

Özlem Meci and her baby Murat have been staying at Aliağa Prison in the western province of İzmir.

According to recent data released by the Ministry of Justice, more than 2,250 mothers are held in penal institutions, of whom 520 are obliged to raise their 0 to 6-year-old children in prison.

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 new report titled “Jailing Women In Turkey: Systematic Campaign of Persecution and Fear” released in April by SCF has revealed.

Turkey survived a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah 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 participants of the Gülen movement in jails.

At least 161,751 people were detained or investigated and 50,334 people were arrested in Turkey in the framework of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement since the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, according to statistics reported by state-run Anadolu news agency by basing on information taken from the officials from Turkey’s Justice Ministry on June 13. (SCF with turkeypurge.com) June 29, 2017

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