77-year-old woman ordered to wear tracker after sending sweater to militant son
GEBZE – Doğan News Agency
Nazife Babayiğit was first sentenced to six years in prison for 'aiding a terrorist organization.' Her sentence was subsequently reduced to two years and one month before being commuted to three months of house arrest. DHA photoA 77-year-old woman has been ordered to wear an ankle bracelet to control her movements after being sentenced to house arrest for attempting to send sweaters and a photograph of herself to a son who joined outlawed Kurdish militants.
Nazife Babayiğit was first sentenced to six years in prison for “aiding a terrorist organization” after being taken into custody, where she was kept in jail for 12 days. Her sentence was subsequently reduced to two years and one month following an appeal decision by the Supreme Court before being commuted to house arrest, Doğan news agency reported April 19.
As part of the terms of the house arrest, Babayiğit was three months ago fitted with a tracker on her ankle that does not permit her to leave her apartment under any circumstances, even to go to the garden.
Babayiğit has not received any news from her son Metin since migrating from eastern Turkey to the northwestern province of Kocaeli’s Gebze district, which shares a border with Istanbul. In 2007, she met two young men from the east who were working near her home and inquired about her son. The young people told her that they knew him, adding that he had joined the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) militant camps in the mountains surrounding the northeastern province of Iğdır, near the Armenian border, according to her other son, Kasım Babayiğit.
“My mom gave her picture to these young people who visited her from time to time. She also gave them a sweater that she knitted and stuff like a toothbrush. ‘If you see my son, tell him that I’m still alive,’ she said to them,” Kasım Babayiğit said.
Both men were arrested in the eastern town of Erzurum and local prosecutors opened an investigation after finding Babayiğit’s belongings with them. “One day while I was at work, the police came and took her into custody. She stayed for 12 days at Gebze Prison.”
Nazide Babayiğit now benefits from a law under which sentences for elderly or sick people can be commuted to house arrest, but the arrangement does not permit convicts to leave their dwellings.
“She misses going outside a lot. We have a garden where she has chickens; she is now deprived of all that,” Kasım Babayiğit said.
Independent Istanbul deputy Levent Tüzel vowed to bring the woman’s case to Parliament following a recent visit. He also argued that the latest judicial reform package approved by the Parliament last week should provide solutions to those who have received similar sentences.
“A mother’s desire to help is son is interpreted by the Justice as helping terrorists. This is a shame of humanity,” Tüzel said.