Expression Interrupted

Journalists and academics bear the brunt of the massive crackdown on freedom of expression in Turkey. Scores of them are currently subject to criminal investigations or behind bars. This website is dedicated to tracking the legal process against them.

School teacher sent to jail with her baby daughter

School teacher sent to jail with her baby daughter

Ayşe Çelik was sentenced to 15 months in prison on “terrorism propaganda” charge for her remarks on a TV show

Ayşe Çelik, a school teacher who was convicted of “conducting propaganda for a terrorist organization” in April 2017 for her remarks on a live TV show in 2016, was sent to prison with her baby daughter in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on 20 April after her request for an additional period of delay was rejected.

Çelik was handed down a prison term of 15 months over her remarks. She was commenting on the sweeping curfews imposed on Turkey’s southeastern provinces at that time and the humanitarian hardships caused by the curfews and military operations.

The Constitutional Court took up an application filed by Çelik’s lawyer Mahsuni Karaman on her behalf on 18 April, raising hope Çelik’s imprisonment might be avoided, but the supreme court was yet to announce its decision as of Friday evening when Çelik was transferred to a Diyarbakır prison.

The Bakırköy 2nd High Criminal Court had convicted Çelik of “propaganda” charge on April 26, 2017, sentencing her to 1 year and 3 months in prison. The court delayed the sentence since Çelik was expecting a baby. Çelik’s lawyer appealed the verdict, but the 2nd Criminal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice upheld the trial court’s decision.

The period of delay granted to Çelik ended on April 20. Çelik, accompanied by her lawyer, opposition CHP deputy Zeynep Altıok and HDP deputies Feleknas Uca and Ziya Pir, arrived at the Diyarbakır Courthouse to request an additional 10-day period of delay for execution of her sentence, but the request was rejected.

Çelik attempted to make a press statement as she exited the Diyarbakır Courthouse but was not allowed by the police.

She then went to her house to pick up her six-month-old daughter Deran and some of her personal belongings, including Deran’s toys and formula. She came back to the Courthouse, where she was processed and sent to the Diyarbakır E-Type Prison.

Çelik had said the following during a live phone call in 2016 to a talk show hosted by Beyazıt Öztürk: “Are you aware of what is happening in Turkey’s Southeast? Media recounts what’s happening here very differently. Do not remain silent. See us, hear us, and lend us a hand. This is shameful! Don’t let people die, don’t let children die, don’t let mothers cry!”