A mother of three from Rojava province in northeastern Syria who was arrested for alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was accompanied by her 2-month-old daughter in prison, said reported the Bianet news site.
Reyhan Abdi was first arrested on August 26 and detained at Istanbul Police Headquarters. The Istanbul branch of the Association of Liberal Lawyers (ÖHD) announced that she had been arrested three days later and that her baby was accompanying her to prison, although the law on the execution of sentences and measures of security stipulates that “the execution of the prison sentence is postponed for pregnant women or women who have given birth during the last 18 months.
Abdi’s lawyers said she stopped breastfeeding due to stress and suffered serious mental health issues while in detention. “It is clear that the physical and mental health of our client will deteriorate under these circumstances. Detaining children with their mothers violates basic human rights and children’s rights. We will continually remind judicial authorities of their responsibility to act in accordance with the law. As ÖHD, we will not accept this decision and will take legal action for Abdi,” they added.
In December 2021, there were 548 children in prison with their mothers. Human rights advocates have said that children accompany their mothers to prison at very young ages, which are often critical periods in their mental and physical development. However, children do not receive basic necessities such as pencils or toys. Some cells are not equipped with mats for crawling babies and inmates make makeshift mats out of blankets. Many children do not have their own bed and share their mother’s food.