Journalist: I am free but there are 6 children in my old prison cell

Journalist Nur Eren Kılınç (L) and a cartoon by İbrahim Özdabak

Journalist Naciye Nur Ener Kılınç, who was released from jail on Tuesday and put under house arrest, said there are six children in the prison cell to which she was confined for 357 days.

“I am free, but there is a 30-day-old infant behind those doors. There are six children in my prison cell. I pray they will be freed soon,” Kılınç said after her release.

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 about 700 children accompanying their mothers in Turkish jails.

The İstanbul 26th High Criminal Court on Tuesday released journalist Kılınç, who was jailed on March 5, 2017 over alleged links to the Gülen movement, on condition of house arrest.

According to the report, her next hearing is set for April 19.

Ener was detained by police who raided her house on the night of March 5 and was subsequently arrested by the İstanbul 4th Penal Court of Peace and sent to Bakırköy Women’s Prison in İstanbul.

Ener was arrested based on a letter from an informant who accused her of being a follower of the faith-based Gülen movement and using a smart phone application known as ByLock, which is considered by Turkish authorities to be the top communication tool among followers of the movement.

Although the informant, an old friend of Ener’s, called the journalist and told her that they had reported her to the police because of anger at somebody else and regretted what they did, this was not taken into consideration by the judicial authorities.

In her defense, Ener denied any links to the Gülen movement and using ByLock.

In October, a newly released book on human rights violations in Turkey in the aftermath of a failed coup last year, written by Ener, was banned in Turkish prisons.

Guards in a prison in Turkey seized a copy of the book, titled “Üç Dal Papatya” (Three Daisies), when an inmate’s child brought it as a gift, Yeni Asya reported on Oct. 20.

The book includes letters from victims who were dismissed from their jobs, detained and jailed over alleged links to the Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of being behind the failed coup.

In order to make the voice of the victims of the Turkish government’s massive human rights violations heard, journalist Ener began to compile the letters to publish as a book early last year. However she was also detained on March 5, 2017 over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Her colleagues completed the unfinished book and published it while Ener was in prison.

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