Teacher who said ‘Don’t let children die’ will give birth in prison

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Teacher Ayşe Çelik

A one year, three month prison sentence handed down to Turkish teacher Ayşe Çelik, who called for an end to clashes between Kurdish militants and Turkish security forces in Diyarbakır during a TV program, was approved by a regional court of justice, Cumhuriyet reported on Monday.

According to the report Çelik, who said “Don’t let children die” during the “Beyaz Show” TV program, will give birth in prison as she is currently three months pregnant.

On the night of Jan 8, 2016, a woman who introduced herself as Ayşe Çelik appear on the live “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 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.

Çelik was sentenced to one year, three months in April 2017. The Istanbul regional court of justice that considered the objection filed by Çelik’s lawyers approved ruling of the lower court.

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