Pregnant woman jailed over Gülen links subjected to torture: rights activist

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Photo by Ye Jinghan (Unsplash)

A woman who was five months into her pregnancy when she was arrested due to her alleged links to the Gülen movement was subjected to a strip search and torture, according to prominent human rights activist and lawyer Eren Keskin.

Around 30,000 people, 10,000 of whom are women from all walks of life, are jailed in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in July 2016 due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

In a message from her Twitter account on Thursday, Keskin wrote about a prison visit she and some other lawyers from her law office made where they had a chance to talk to inmates and learn what they have been living through in prison.

“As a law office, we met with a jailed woman today who is standing trial for being a ‘Fetö’ member. With a woman who was subjected to a strip search while five months pregnant as well as the ‘sit down-stand up,’ torture. Zero tolerance for torture,” tweeted Keskin.

Fetö is a term coined by the Turkish government to refer to the Gülen movement as a terrorist organization.

There have been widespread allegations of torture and maltreatment in Turkey’s prisons, some of which have been documented by local and international civil society and rights organizations, since the failed coup.

In a report in January 2019, Human Rights Watch said it found continued allegations of torture, ill treatment and cruel and inhumane or degrading treatment in police custody and prison and the lack of any meaningful investigation into them in Turkey to be a source of “deep concern.”

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