A pregnant woman who was jailed due to her links to a radical, leftist organization in Turkey was forced to go through labor for two days in handcuffs, according to a letter she sent from prison.
Rabia Bıyıklı delivered her baby at the Elazığ Fethi Sekin Hospital in eastern Turkey.
Bıyıklı was in induced labor for two days, but her handcuffs were not removed on the grounds that she could flee. She delivered the baby in a C-section after two days of induced labor.
In a letter she sent to the www.gorulmustur.org website, Bıyıklı said she was detained in the western province of Bursa when she was five months pregnant, in September 2018, and was kept in police custody for 10 days.
“I experienced bleeding due to the maltreatment I was subjected to under police custody and faced the risk of losing my baby,” she wrote.
From Bursa, Bıyıklı was taken to Tunceli, where she remained in detention for another five days and was arrested on Sept. 20, 2018 and sent to the Elazığ Prison for Women.
The woman said she was always taken to regular pregnancy checkups in handcuffs and experienced the worst trauma when she was sent to the hospital to have her baby.
“I was tied to a bed for two days in handcuffs and because I could not give birth normally, I was in induced labor for two days. I was not even able to move my hands when I was trying to deal with the pain of the labor. … This is a kind of torture that hurts human dignity, and I was subjected to it for two days,” she wrote.
The woman said her handcuffs were not removed although the doctor taking care of her asked for their removal.
Bıyıklı said the maltreatment she and her baby, who she named Mavi, which means blue, symbolizing freedom, continued after they were discharged from the hospital.
She said they were transferred to the Kayseri Prison for Women from Elazığ when her baby was 38 days old and still recovering from the C-section.
The prison vehicle, said Bıyıklı, was not suitable even for healthy people as it was a called a “coffin” due to its limited space for inmates being transferred.
“Today is Mavi’s 46th day in the world. Contrary to the gray and black days experienced by the world and our country, her name is Mavi. I just wanted to share my ordeal with you so that other mothers and babies won’t have to go through such an ordeal,” wrote Bıyıklı.
In the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, more than 17,000 women from all walks of life including teachers, doctors and housewives have been jailed in Turkey on coup charges in government-led operations.
There are currently more than 700 children accompanying their mothers in Turkish jails. Many women have been jailed with their young children immediately after delivery or while pregnant on terrorism charges.