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75-year-old mother arrested for legally sending money into prison in Turkiye

75-year-old mother Hatice Yildiz is sentenced to 4 years and 2 months for sending pocket money to her daughter and daughter’s friend in prison through legal ways.  As her charge for “providing finance for a terrorist organisation” was confirmed, the police went to arrest her on 23rd March 2024.

Her medical conditions include hypertension, lumbar strain, scoliosis, eye problems that require surgery and her age which may have a destructive impact on her well-being. Her situation worsened in the moment of her arrest from her home, the police and ambulance took her out of her house on a stretcher. She was first sent to the hospital and then admitted to Bakirkoy Women’s Prison. 

Turkey’s Council of Forensic Medicine (Turkish: Adli Tip Kurumu) reported that she is fit to serve in prison. Her son reported on 14th May that her condition is worsening in prison. 

Human Rights Association in Turkey and MPs from The Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (Turkish: Halklarin Esitlik ve Demokrasi Partisi, DEM) highlighted her unlawful arrest due to sending money to prison using the existing governmental methods available through legal processes. The political motivation behind the criminal justice system is also highlighted as she is one of the 4 Kurdish women charged unlawfully, without any consideration of their old age and existing medical conditions. Others include Hanife Arslan (76), Makbule Ozer (83), Besra Erol (65). While Hatice Yildiz’s lawyer applied for postponement of execution and probation; her probation was rejected. 

We, as Rights Defenders, condemn the unlawful charges applied to Hatice Yildiz that are fully motivated by political interest and discrimination. The criminal justice system has legal methods in place for sending money to prisoners for them to use the facilities inside the prison. As it is the prisoners’ right to receive money via the existing scheme; no one should be charged for using what is set by the government to send money to their family or friends in prison. Hatice Yildiz provided money to her daughter and her friend through legitimate ways and should not be in jail for it. The ways in which she was arrested without any consideration of her medical condition is damaging to the Turkish government’s criminal justice system which has no compassion for human dignity, especially for the elderly that is more vulnerable in society. While ATK has been criticised for not following medical ethics, especially for political prisoners who are ill and require intensive medical care; it may cause serious irreversible damage to those prisoners. 

We demand that seriously ill prisoners, including Hatice Yildiz, should be treated more mercifully considering their medical conditions and age, and how the prison environment may impact them negatively. Medical well-being should be prioritised over punitive punishments driven by the government’s current political motivations for political prisoners. Multiple human rights violations in this case should be addressed. 









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