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Turkey’s top court rules violation occurred in denial of jailed spouses’ visitation rights

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Turkey’s Constitutional Court has ruled that there has been a violation of the right to respect for family life in the case of two jailed spouses who have not been allowed to see each other in the same prison complex, the Birgün daily reported on Wednesday.

The court issued its ruling based on the petition of Esra Aydın, who was jailed in the southeastern Turkish province of Gaziantep due to her alleged links to the Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup in July 2016.

The movement strongly denies any involvement in the failed putsch.

Aydın’s husband was also arrested following the coup attempt on charges of membership a terrorist organization due to his alleged links to the Gülen movement. The husband was placed in the same prison complex as his wife. Esra Aydın petitioned prison authorities to be able to see her husband on visitation days and benefit from the right to a weekly telephone call to speak with her husband on the phone. The prison authorities turned down the woman’s requests, prompting her to challenge the prison administration’s decision at a local court, but the court also rejected her requests.

In November 2016 Esra Aydın filed an individual application at the Constitutional Court, which has just concluded her case and ruled in her favor on the grounds that there has been a violation of the right to family life.

More than 500,000 people have been investigated since the coup attempt over alleged Gülen links while more than 30,000 have been jailed. In some instances, several people from the same family, such as a husband and wife together, have been sent to jail. Aydın’s case is expected to lead to an easing of the restrictions on the rights of jailed couples.

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