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Turkish court releases mother and newborn with heart disease from jail

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A Turkish court in Erzurum province on Thursday released a mother who was sent back to jail after delivering a baby with heart disease last month.

Yusuf Burak was born in a hospital in the eastern province of Erzurum in early February to Şeyma Tekin, who was returned to jail along with her newborn despite doctors’ objections.

The announcement of her release came from human rights activist and opposition deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, who has been advocating in particular for children who accompany their mothers in jail.

Tekin had been in pretrial detention since the second month of her pregnancy due to alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement. The government accuses the movement of plotting a July 15, 2016 coup attempt and has carried out a massive crackdown on its followers.

According to Turkish law, it is illegal to imprison pregnant women even if they have been convicted of a crime. Exiled lawyer Nurullah Albayrak told TR724 news that there are over 700 children in Turkey’s prisons along with their mothers in open violation of the law.

The doctors said baby Yusuf was not able develop properly in the jail and objected to his return. The baby’s grandfather on Twitter called it a massive injustice.

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