Parents jailed over Gülen links not allowed see their children for 9 months

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Bedia Baş and her children

Parents of four Bedia Baş and Abdülkadir Baş, who were arrested on terrorism charges in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in Turkey in 2016 due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement, were not allowed to see their children during the first nine months of their incarceration, according to a letter from Bedia Baş, the Aktif Haber news website reported.

The woman, a former teacher who was removed from her post due to Gülen movement ties, sent a letter from prison where she has been incarcerated for 27 months. Her husband has been in jail for 27 months as well.

In her letter Bedia Baş explained how the imprisonment of her and her husband has taken a toll on their four children while adding that her husband has been in solitary confinement for 27 months.

She said in the first nine months of their imprisonment, both she and her husband were given a punishment that restricted their right to open and closed visitations, write letters and make phone calls.

“Although this punishment seems to have been given to us, it was a punishment given to our children. Even I was unable to deal with this separation. I cannot imagine what kind of an impact it left on my children. I will never forget the emotions I experienced when I saw them for the first time after nine months,” she wrote.

Baş said her children were aged 12,11, 9 and two and a half when she was arrested, noting that it is impossible for her to put her longing for them into words.

She also called on intellectuals and jurists in the country to take action to ensure the release of thousands of innocent people in the country’s jails.

Abdülkadir Baş has been given a jail sentence of 13 years, nine months, while Bedia Baş was sentenced to nine years, six months on terrorism charges. Their cases are now pending at the Supreme Court of Appeals.

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

Following the coup attempt, the Turkish government launched a massive crackdown on followers of the Gülen movement under the pretext of an anti-coup fight as a result of which more than 150,000 people were removed from state jobs while in excess of 30,000 others were jailed and some 600,000 people have been investigated on allegations of terrorism.

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