Woman jailed over Gülen links allowed to see son hospitalized with cancer for half a day

Picture: Gülten Sayın and his son Yusuf Kerim, Illustration: Gianluca Costantini

Currently incarcerated Gülten Sayın, the mother of 6-year-old Yusuf Kerim Sayın, who is suffering from bone cancer, was allowed to visit her son in the hospital for half a day after many calls from human rights defenders, the Bold Medya news website reported.

Sayın was arrested on December 16 to serve a prison sentence on conviction of links to the Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of being a “terrorist” organization.

Singer, human rights defender and founder of the Ahbap Human Rights Association Haluk Levent announced on Twitter last Thursday that Sayın could spend half a day with Yusuf Kerim in the hospital following approval for the visit granted by the Justice Ministry.

”According to the information I’ve received from the Ministry of Justice, the court did not rule to release Sayın,” Levent said.

”Yusuf Kerim benefited from people’s right to visit seriously ill family members in prison. The administration of Sakarya Prison showed understanding and accepted our request for Yusuf Kerim to be visited by his mother for one day,” Peoples’ Democratic Party deputy and human rights defender Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu said on Twitter.

Italian graphic artist Gianluca Costantini, previously interviewed by SCF, tweeted a drawing of Yusuf Kerim and Sayın on Monday and called on the ministry for the mother’s release.

”Yusuf was reunited with his mother for a few hours under a special permission that was granted, but only until 2:00 a.m. When he woke up in the morning, his mother was not there. Gentlemen, for God’s sake, this child has a deadly bone cancer, your country will not perish or collapse because you released his mother! Let go of this child’s mother,” Costantini said.

Gergerlioğlu, a medical doctor by profession, recently said Ewing’s sarcoma, which Yusuf Kerim was diagnosed with, is one of the deadliest of cancers and that Yusuf Kerim might die while his mother is in prison.

Sayın was sentenced to six years, three months for working at a student dormitory in the northwestern province of Sakarya that the government subsequently closed down because of alleged ties to the Gülen movement. She was also accused of depositing money in Bank Asya, which was closed by the government after the coup attempt because of its links to the movement.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, inspired by Turkish Muslim 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 an abortive putsch that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

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