Babies in prison with no heating

Ms. Emine A. spent a long time in Çorum Prison and described the hardships that mothers encounter with their babies: “In the crowded wards in prison, the toddlers learned to cry in silence as they were constantly silenced.”

SEVİNÇ ÖZARSLAN

The most crucial problem in Turkish prisons is the detained children with their mothers whose number has increased rapidly in the last three years.

After the controversial July 15 coup attempt, thousands of women, mostly teachers and public employees, were arrested. These include a significant number of pregnant women and toddlers.

Nowadays, Çorum Prison is the new address for a new tragedy. Although it is winter, the heating systems are not on in Çorum Prison. Ms. Emine A., who was released after being detained for a long time, told about her experience about the prison: “Children are condemned to illness in winter.”

Staying in the ward with 15 other people, she said, “There were three babies when I was in prison. The other two babies came time to time to their mothers. Little Hamza has been with me for a week. His mother sent me a message that the heaters in the prison weren’t on and little Hamza could be sick if we send Hamza to her. But the kid was insisting on seeing his mother with his unstoppable tears. I have to send him to his mother tomorrow.”

They learn how to cry in silence

Ms. Emine A. explained about the psychological state of Hamza, who entered the prison at the age of 7 months only, as: “The toddler is continually crying or holding himself silently. Tears are pouring silently. He doesn’t cry out loud, because other prisoners wanted him to keep quiet so that there wouldn’t cause constant noise as he stayed in the same room with other 15 people in prison. Just say ‘mum,’ and he cries quietly, no word he utters while he cries.”

Hamza Bıçakçı, the youngest son of Gülende and Erdal Bıçakçı, entered Çorum Prison with his mother when he was seven months old. He turned 2,5 years in prison. With three children, the couple was detained since March 2018. Elderly grandparents take care of the other children, Zeynep (7) and Numan (10), in Kahramanmaraş. Corum city is 9 hours away from Kahramanmaraş city by bus. Zeynep and Numan, along with one of the grandparents, have to pay more than the minimum wage of salary if they visit their parents every week.

“I am diabetic, no drugs were given to me for 25 days”

Ms. Emine A. stated that she has diabetes and was not given her medication while in prison. She also highlighted that “I was in prison for three months. There’s psychological pressure. I got sick there. They’re forcefully taking you to the doctor. My hands got numb. The doctor said I needed emergency surgery. I replied that I can’t have surgery here, under these circumstances. I added I’ll have my surgery after I am released. The doctor suggested me to give an apparatus, but I’ve waited a month for it, and still, I did not get it. I’m a diabetic, and they didn’t give me my medicine for 25 days. What can I say more!?”

 

Boiler malfunctioning

On the other hand, HDP MP and human rights defender Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu announced on his social media account two days ago that he had contacted to the prison authorities regarding the solution of the problem and said: “There were complaints that the heating system was out of order in Corum Prison. I communicated with the authorities. They said the repair of two boilers will be completed tonight. I hope the problem ends without delay.”

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