Two women jailed in Turkey over links to the faith-based Gülen movement were this week returned to prison immediately after delivery.
Beyza Demir, who gave birth this week and was immediately sent back to prison in İstanbul to serve a seven-year sentence, became news on Twitter. Cemre Birand, wife of the late journalist Mehmet Ali Birand and a vocal protester of jailing children, tweeted about the imprisonment of a one-day-old baby.
The second incident took place in the eastern province of Erzurum. Human rights activist, medical doctor and opposition deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu tweeted on Thursday that a jailed woman named Şeyma Tekin was awaiting delivery in prison. According to her relatives, Tekin had her baby on Friday and was expecting to be sent back to prison.
According to Turkish law, it is illegal to imprison pregnant women even if they have been convicted of a crime. Exiled lawyer Nurullah Albayrak told TR724 news that there are over 700 children in Turkey’s prisons along with their mothers in open violation of the law.
He added that despite the impunity in Turkey under the current political climate, those who infringe on human rights will be accused of violation of international agreements in the future.
Jailing pregnant women and sending them back to prison after delivery has become a common practice in Turkey especially after a failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016. A majority of these women have been jailed over links to the Gülen movement, which the government holds responsible for the failed coup.
The movement denies any involvement in the abortive putsch.