At least 743 children along with their mothers are being held in Turkey’s prisons, a report released by the Human Rights Association (İHD) revealed.
Ercan Yılmaz, a lawyer and an official from the Diyarbakır branch of the İHD, said the children who are jailed with their mothers due to a crime they have not committed are subjected to a number of rights violations in prisons.
Mothers of most of the children in Turkish jails have been arrested as part of a government crackdown on followers of the Gülen group in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016, and most of them are in pre-trial detention and not yet convicted of a crime.
The Turkish government accuses the Gülen group of masterminding the failed coup, which claimed the lives of 249 people, although the movement strongly denies any involvement.
Yılmaz said most of the children in jails are aged between 0 and 6 and that they get complaints from prisons saying that insufficient and low-quality food is given to these children. He said the children in jails are not even given basic foods required by children such as milk and that they are forced to eat the same meals as the adults.
“If there are 25 adults and three children in a prison cell, food is given to the 25 adults without taking the three children in consideration. So, a mother has to share her food with her child,” said Yılmaz.