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Teacher jailed in Turkey after calling for an end to the killing of children

TEACHER Ayse Celik was jailed for a second time in Turkey today after she called for an end to the killing of children in the country’s largely Kurdish south-east.

Her lawyer said she had been taken to prison to serve her sentence, which had been delayed three times because she was pregnant and had a newborn baby.

Ms Celik was jailed after investigations were launched when she phoned in to the Beyaz Show in January 2016 and called for Turkish security services to stop the killing of children during a military clampdown in cities including Diyarbakir.

During the phone-in she said: “Are you aware of what’s going on in the country’s east? What’s happening here is misrepresented on television. Don’t stay silent.

“Please show more sensitivity as human beings. See us, hear us and give us a hand. I’d like to address the teachers who have abandoned their students. 

“How are they going to return there? How are they going to look those innocent children in the eye? What a pity! Don’t let people die. Don’t let children die. Don’t let mothers cry.”

Following the show the Diyarbakir Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into Ms Celik for “praising terrorism and a terrorist organisation,” a reference to the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK).

Authorities were seeking a seven-and-half-year sentence for the unemployed teacher and also launched investigations into the programme’s host, Turkish comedian Beyazit Ozturk, after he said: “We are trying our best to make it heard. Your words have been a lesson for us. We will continue to do more. Hopefully your wishes for peace will be realised as soon as possible.”

Ms Celik was sentenced to 15 months in prison in April 2017 with the decision upheld by a higher court in October. She was jailed in April 2018 with her six-month-old daughter Deran, but was released the following month.

Despite being against the constitution and in violation of human rights legislation, more than 700 women are in Turkish jails with small children, the highest numbers in the country’s history.

Ms Celik’s lawyer, Mahsuni Karaman, said they were still awaiting a judgement from Turkey’s Constitutional Court regarding an appeal against the decision.

“We expect the Constitutional Court to announce its ruling regarding the appeal … [and] thereby, end this unjust treatment,” he said. “No ruling given after the sentence has been served will be a remedy.”

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