Justice Ministry approves jailed HDP MP’s requests to be reunited with 3-year-old daughter in prison
Oya Armutçu - ANKARAThe Turkish Justice Ministry accepted on May 24 a jailed Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) parliamentarian’s request to be reunited with her 3-year-old daughter in prison.
HDP Muş lawmaker Burcu Çelik Özkan was arrested on charges of “being a member of a terrorist organization” on April 19 in the eastern province of Muş.
Özkan, who appealed to court to be with her three-year-old daughter Asmin Mira, has been jailed in Ankara’s Sincan Prison.
HDP group deputy chair Ahmet Yıldırım said they had hoped the jailed lawmakers would be released soon.
“We were expecting our lawmaker friends to be released from prison; we do not want a child to experience prison. But she wants to be with her daughter because she doesn’t expect to be released,” he said.
Özkan’s daughter has been living with her grandmother in Ankara.
Özkan said her daughter was crying all the time because she missed her mother.
Serpil Kemalbay, the HDP’s newly-elected co-chair, said they are waiting for a decision from the Justice Ministry.
A total of 560 children are currently staying with their mothers in jail, according to a statement from the Turkish Justice Ministry, Doğan News Agency reported on May 23.
Asked in a parliamentary inquiry by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Gamze Akkuş İlgezdi in April, the Justice Minister said there were a total of 516 women in prison with their children.
Some 345 of the 516 jailed women have been convicted, according to the ministry.
The 560 children in jails were aged between zero and six, including 291 boys and 269 girls, according to a CHP report based on Justice Ministry data.
A total of 114 children in prison were below the age of one, while 44 of them were older than one, it said.
The report added that more than 400 children are in high-security prisons, meaning they do not have access to fresh air.
“Some 460 children who are staying in high-security prisons are forced to live within grey prison walls and are surrounded with barbed wires, not seeing birds and clouds,” the report said.