African immigrant woman detained to be deported during postnatal treatment in Turkish hospital

Turkish officials hastily detained an Angolan woman while she was under postnatal treatment in a hospital on the grounds that her visa period had expired, Gazete Duvar reported on Sunday.

According to a report by Aynur Tekin from Gazete Duvar news portal, the new mother, B.T, was reportedly taken into custody on Friday without removing an injection for vascular access.

She was kept in detention with her premature baby left in the Istanbul’s Bakırkoy Sadi Konuk Training and Research Hospital.

Lerzan Caner, an activist from the Immigrant Aid and Solidarity Association, said the Angolan had been taken into police custody without letting her put on her socks, in her pajamas.

“I was only able to give my shawl to keep her warm,” Caner claimed.

Transferred to the Silivri Immigration Removal Center following her release on Saturday, the Angolan was told by the Turkish authorities to leave the country within 30 days.

The hospital administration, which had called police after noticing her visa expiration during the treatment, charged the mother 31,000 lira ($ 5,335) for the procedure, rejecting the family’s request for the installment of the large amount.

Lawyer Arzu Aydogan from the Women’s Solidarity Foundation (KADAV) said they would apply for humanitarian residence in a bid to prevent the mother’s deportation.

“The [Turkish] state does not take into account situations such as illness, pregnancy, and giving birth while making decisions on deportations. As soon as the baby leaves the hospital [incubator], deportation conditions will be fulfilled. If she [the mother] does not apply for the residence, she will be deported after she leaves the hospital,” Aydogan said.

The lawyer criticized the Turkish government for the lack of a facilitating approach towards migrants in the country who cannot access the application mechanisms.

“The migrants cannot appeal the deportation decisions as they cannot speak the [Turkish] language and cannot contact a lawyer. We have been experiencing difficulties in such situations,” said Aydogan.

“What would have happened if we had not been informed about the woman through some associations or networks? Most of the time, a lot of people are being deported before we realize the case,” Aydogan added.

In May, the Izmir Bar Association condemned the officials of the Harmandali Immigration Removal Center for keeping its lawyers visiting detained immigrants for two hours behind locked doors at the center.

The center’s authorities allegedly kept the lawyers and the interpreter behind locked doors for more than two hours, ignoring their calls for release and humanitarian needs.

“This is not a unique case [there have been many right violation cases]. The violations towards the lawyers are not different from those experienced by detained immigrants. In essence, this is a systematic practice of concealing the violations of rights towards foreigners held at the center and preventing them from accessing asylum and legal services,” Ozkan Yucel, the head of the association said.

In 2017 the Migration and Asylum Commission of the association published a 30-page report on conditions at the Harmandali center. The report stated the difficulties experienced by lawyers in accessing foreigners under administrative detention as well as difficulties in entering the center.

Immigration removal centers are used for holding foreigners awaiting decisions on their asylum claims or awaiting deportation following a failed application.

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