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Human Rights

Mother has been arrested because of name similarity. Now her children are watching her path…

In Turkey, nobody has faith in the judiciary, justice, and law anymore. This is the attitude for a long time, but as the court records appear, the photograph becomes clearer. The following dialogue between a judge, a defendant and a confessor in Şanlıurfa is important in showing the situation in the Turkish courts once more…

SEVİNÇ ÖZARSLAN

– Place: Şanlıurfa 6th High Criminal Court.
– Date: November 11, 2018.
– Judge Ali Kara asks the confessor Büşra Demirdal.
– Do you know Ayse Demir?
– Answer: No, this is not Ayse Demir. The woman that I know as Ayse Demir was a female pharmacist. She was 40 to 45 years old. I don’t know this woman.
– Judge: Arrest the suspect Ayse Demir…

Büşra Demirdal, who gave the name of Ayşe Demir while she was in custody, stated that the person that she mentioned was another person when she met the suspect in the court. But the judicial decision does not change.

MOTHER AND FATHER WERE ARRESTED ON THE SAME DAY IN FRONT OF THEIR CHILDREN

Ayşe Demir and her son Osman

Turkish teacher Ayşe Demir and her husband physics teacher Beytullah Demir were arrested on September 12, 2018, in Urfa, in front of their three children.

After 10 days in custody, Şanlıurfa Magistrate was released Ayşe Demir with judicial control decision. Beytullah Demir was sent to Diyarbakır Prison on charge of ‘membership of illegal group’.

For a month, Ayşe Demir went to give signature without fleeing and hiding. At the end of the month, there was a new development. Büşra Demirdal, a prisoner in Silivri Prison, was a confessor, give the name of Ayşe Demir, then the 6th High Criminal Court of Şanlıurfa filed a lawsuit against Ayşe Demir. Since Ayşe Demir was born in Ceylanpınar, the Ceylanpınar Court was instructed to take her testimony.

But Ayşe Demir, living in the center of Şanlıurfa, went to the trial in Şanlıurfa 6th High Criminal Court on 11 November 2018 to defend herself with her own words. She was arrested in court where she went voluntarily.

Judge Ali Kara separated the young mother from her three children, despite the statement by Büşra Demirdal, who was on trial with Sound and Vision Information Technology System (SEGBIS), saying, “I do not know this woman”.

On December 12, 2018, 32-year-old Demir was sentenced to 5 years, 18 months and 22 days imprisonment on charge of membership of a terrorist organization. The appeal court approved the decision ten days ago. The case is currently in the Supreme Court.

Ayşe Demir who was a Turkish teacher was sent to Hilvan 2nd numbered T-Type Closed Prison because a confessor gave her name in a statement. Her husband and herself graduated from Dicle University. Between 2011 and 2014, they worked as a paid teacher in a private education Institution (Kültür Özel Eğitim ve Nehir Özel Eğitim Kurumları) in Diyarbakır.

Taha Bera Demir, 14 months

2 years old Hümeyra and his 7 years old brother Osman.

When Ayse Demir became pregnant, she left the school. After the institution they worked was terminated, they moved to Şanlıurfa. Meanwhile, Ayse Demir gave birth and the number of children increased to three. Taha Bera, now 1,5 years old, had not yet been weaned when her mother was arrested. His eldest sons Osman is 7 and Hümeyra is 2 years old.

Beytullah Demir and his eldest son Osman

After two months, Beytullah Demir who had his first trial 20 days ago will again appear before the judge and try to prove that he is not a “terrorist”!

I’M LOOKING AT MY THREE GRANDCHILDREN AND MY PARALYZED DAD AT 80

Ayşe Demir’s father, retired Şeref Atay, looks after his grandchildren and his own father who is hospitalized because of a brain hemorrhage. He is toing and froing desperately. Şeref Atay, whom we interviewed by phone, as a desperate father and grandfather, expressed what they had been living for 6 months as the voice of all victims:

“You have to be a partisan, or there is no other choice. I asked my daughter if she knew Busra. I swear to God I don’t know her, she said. We saw Büşra Demirdal in the trial, we do not know who she is. She was in Diyarbakir before presumably.

Büşra Demirdal wasn’t able to meet with my daughter at that time. My daughter was a college student at that time. She wasn’t married, she was holding my surname… I am miserable at the moment. I look after my grandchildren. My 80-year-old father had a cerebral hemorrhage, was paralyzed, and now is in hospital.

Three children are up to me, they have diapers and so on. Taha Bera still sucks milk. I’m taking him to prison twice a day. I’m a retired person. Now our psychology is broken. Whenever I go home, the kids start to ask; ‘when will mother come to the home?’ I do not know what to say.”

I LEAVE NO STONE UNTURNED

“There is no such lawlessness. If my daughter is guilty, give her the penalty. But she isn’t. Just give me a reason! They wrote to one of the charges that he was living in an undisclosed location. A mother who lives in her own house with her three children, how she lives in an undisclosed location!

Realtor is certain, we hired the flat and settled my daughter there. For the sake of God, what terrorist organization! I don’t understand if she used a gun or smuggled somewhere. We suffered as much that we had a hell of a time. I leave no stone unturned. I have no faith in anyone and nothing…”

There are three incriminating accusations attributed to Ayşe Demir: between 2011 and 2014, she worked as a paid teacher in a private education Institution (Kültür Özel Eğitim ve Nehir Özel Eğitim kurumları) in Diyarbakır, accusation that she was staying in undisclosed location and her name was given by a confessor that she has never seen. Ayse Demir’s lawyer expresses that, despite the allegations that they have refuted, there is no favorable result.

Ayse Demir, Büşra Demirdal expressions and the defense of the lawyer Abdülahmit Tapışık:

Human Rights

Arrested two months into her marriage, got cancer in prison – tumor grew rapidly due to delayed treatment

Betul Aygun (28), a Turkish national in prison diagnosed with breast cancer three weeks ago, will have surgery tomorrow. As it took 6 months for the test results to come up, Aygun’s tumor grew and surgery has become imminent.

BOLD – Turkish Prisons continue to be “torture centers” for the sick detainees imprisoned due to the crackdown in Turkey. Betul Aygun (28) went to a hospital in April 2019, and the physicians diagnosed her with breast cancer three weeks ago. The tumor in Aygun’s body, due to the lack of treatment during a six months wait for the test results, grew quickly in a month.

“A guard had her by the arm and brought her to me”

“My wife had gallbladder surgery a year ago. Nobody had informed us of this surgery. I found out when I went to the penitentiary for the visiting day, which was four days after the surgery. A guard had her by the arm [she was not able to walk alone] and brought her to see me,” Abdurrahman Aygün, the husband of Betül Aygün, stated.

He went on by saying, “She went to hospital six months ago. The doctor asked for a biopsy and we found out the result three weeks ago.”

Facing a burdensome, paperwork-heavy process as a result of being imprisoned, Mr. Aygün explained that she had to follow the due process in the hospital even when she was in a dire state, and the preparation of the required documents took longer and longer.

Hospitalized for surgery, Betül’s petitions to be released from prison fell on deaf ears.

“We do not know the exact stage of the disease”

Abdurrahman Aygün said that the arduous journeys Betül had to endure with the prisoner transport vehicle worn her out.

“When my wife came from the hospital, she couldn’t recover herself, she couldn’t eat, she was exhausted, she wasn’t even able to talk. She was ruined due to the long ride,” said Aygün.

“When she went to receive her test results, she got car sick. She became very ill again and was taken back to the hospital. She is going to have an ultrasound scan, scheduled for the 1st of November. Her doctor told me that the bulk had grown faster than usual in the last month,” Betül’s husband went on.

“The stress and other environmental factors often induce these abnormalities. We do not know the exact stage of the disease, it needs to be checked frequently. I can’t get the reports from the hospital, because she’s imprisoned,” Aygün pointed out.

She got married three days before the July 2016 putsch-bid

Graduated from the Department of Geography in 2010, Betül got arrested on October 12, 2016. Aygun was sentenced to twelve and a half years in prison over her alleged ties to the Gulen movement. A higher court reduced the sentence to seven and a half years. The Supreme Court of Appeals upheld the latter ruling about a year ago. Betul Aygun, who got married on July 12, 2016, was arrested while her marriage was just two-month old.

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Human Rights

Arrested when she was married for two months, got canser in the prison an the tumor grew rapidly because of delayed treatment

The sick-prisoner Mrs. Betul Aygun, who was diagnosed with breast cancer three weeks ago, will have an operation tomorrow. Waiting for the biopsy results for 6 months, Aygun’s tumor grew rapidly within 1 month and was decided for surgery.

BOLD – Prisons continue to be “torture houses” for the sick arrestee. Betul Aygun (28), who was referred to Odemis State Hospital and biopsied in April 2019, was diagnosed with breast cancer 3 weeks ago. The tumor in Aygün, who was held for 6 months for the test results, grew rapidly in 1 month.

PRISON OFFICER TOOK HER ARM AND BROUGHT

Abdurrahman Aygun, the husband of Betul Aygun, stated that “My wife had a gallbladder surgery a year ago. We have not been informed of this surgery anyway. I found out it when I went to the non-contact visit four days after the surgery. The guard entered her arm and brought her to the non-contact visit. She went to Odemis State Hospital 5 or 6 months ago. The doctor asked for a biopsy and we found out the result three weeks ago.

Encountering a very restricted paperwork process as a result of being imprisoned, Mr. Aygun explained that she had to go through many procedures when she went to the hospital even in her critical situation and the preparation of the documents always took longer time. Betül Aygün, who was referred from Odemis State Hospital to Katip Celebi Training and Research Hospital in Izmir for surgery, still did not have an eviction decision despite writing a petition to the prison prosecutor to explain her situation.

WE DON’T KNOW WHAT STAGE HER ILLNESS IS

Abdurrahman Aygün said that his wife was worn out due to the difficult journeys she made with the prisoner transport vehicle consisting of cells:

When my wife came from the hospital, she couldn’t recover herself, she couldn’t eat, she was exhausted, she wasn’t able to talk even. She’s ruined for 5 hours journey. When she went to receive her test results, she had motion sickness incidence, became very sick again and was taken to the hospital back. She’s going to have another ultrasound, and it is scheduled for November 1. When I went to visit her last week, her doctor told me that the mass grew faster than normal in a month. These are always caused by stress and the environment. We do not know exactly what stage of the disease, it needs to be monitored frequently. I met the prison prosecutor. I can’t get the reports from the hospital, because she’s convicted.”

SHE WAS MARRIED 3 DAYS BEFORE 15 JULY

Graduated from Çanakkale 18 Mart University, Department of Geography in 2010, Betul Aygun was arrested on 12 October 2016 in Çanakkale and three months later she was transferred to Odemis M Type Prison. Aygun was sentenced to 12.5 years imprisonment by the Canakkale Assize Court for alleged membership of the organization. The Court of Appeal reduced her sentence to 7.5 years. The Supreme Court upheld the sentence about a year ago. Betul Aygun, who got married on 12 July 2016, was arrested while she was married for just two months.

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Human Rights

Had to hide my two-month-old in a suitcase to cross the border – Doctor Rana

Having experienced the inhumane treatment with her two months baby under the detainment, Doctor Rana decided to flee the country to abroad, in order to do so, she had to hide her baby in suitcase.

BOLD – Rana, a medical doctor and a mother, was detained during the crackdown that ensued after the July 2016 coup bid. She told about the horrible moments she had to undergo to the rights group Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST).

The young doctor had to put her baby in a suitcase and set out on a difficult journey to escape persecution. She and her family’s ordeal after the putsch are narrated in a book titled “The Baby in the Suitcase” published by the AST.

During the post-coup purge, the genocidal acts committed by the Erdogan regime forced the victims to flee Turkey. Emergency decrees issued by Erdogan enforced such draconian measures people who are accused of being Gulenists couldn’t even work legally and therefore had been sentenced to civil death.

Their passports confiscated by authorities, the victims of the crackdown weren’t able to use legal ways to flee the country. Many of them drowned crossing the Evros river, which forms the border between Turkey and the European Union.

Dr. Rana is one of those victims who had nothing but two options; face the persecution or live in exile. She decided to flee the country after facing the inhumane treatment in her detention. While crossing the border, she had to hide her baby in a suitcase.

Rana and her husband were on vacation on the day of the coup bid. After the bid was quashed, Erdogan administration began purging people who had alleged ties to the Gulen movement, whom he accuses of orchestrating the coup. Rana’s husband lost his job during this purge. In the following days, police detained her and forced her to become an informant.

“Because I had not breastfed my baby for a long time, it gave me excruciating pain and I had to express my breast milk into the sink of the custody room. I cried saying ‘at least give me a napkin’ but nobody came to help,” said Rana while explaining the ordeal.

Being released after a lengthy detainment, Rana decided to leave the country. She and her husband went through many hardships. Smugglers asked her to put her baby into a suitcase. “Neither I nor my husband wanted to put our two months old baby son into the suitcase,” told Rana and carried on with saying, “I couldn’t stand it, I couldn’t even bear the sight.”

Their dreams stripped away, two young doctors stepped into freedom in such condition.

Staying in Georgia for a short period, the couple traveled to the US and from there they went to Canada. Following long stays in refugee settlements, they are trying to build a new life there.

“We experienced merciless treatment from the Anatolian people that we once saw as divinely wise and benevolent,” said Rana and went on with expressing her wishes, “ I hope and pray that we are destined to have a good life here.”

The PDF format of the “The Baby in the Suitcase” book is available on the Advocates of Silenced Turkey website.

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