World Children’s Day: Old enough to be jailed

Arin Hevi, one and a half years old, is in prison with her mother. Her father brought her a coloring book and pencils, but they were not handed over to her because she is supposedly too small for them.

It is not known how many infants have to live with their mothers in Turkish prisons. The Turkish government leaves questions unanswered. The last figure published was 668 in 2017.

One of these children is one and a half year old Arin Hevi. Her mother, Nurcan Kizilkaya, was arrested in 2010 on terrorism charges and later sentenced to six years and three months imprisonment. After about three years in custody on remand, she was provisionally released. When the prison sentence was legally upheld, a year ago she was put in Kocaeli F-Type prison with Arin Hevi, who was six months old at the time.

Arin’s father, Mehmet Sani Kizilkaya, is a lawyer and brought for his daughter a coloring book and pencils to prison. However, these were not handed over to Arin. The reason given by the prison authorities was that the child was too small to paint.

Attorney Kizilkaya said: “In this country there is a prison administration which considers my daughter, who is one and a half years old, to be old enough for prison, but does not allow her to have a pencil and a coloring book because she allegedly cannot hold the pencil and cannot paint.”