Aliye Yabansu, who lives in a 20 square metre container in the Siverek district of the southeastern province of Urfa (Riha) in Turkey, was prosecuted for “insulting the President”, MA reports.
On 9 January 2019, a person named M.I. filed a complaint at the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Urfa regarding a video of the old woman, which was taken without her consent, and then shared it on social media.
The indictment, prepared by the Siverek Public Prosecutor’s Office after the complaint was lodged, demanded that “security measures be implemented due to her mental illness.” It stated that “words she said could offend the honour and dignity of the President.”
During the verdict hearing at Siverek 1st Minor Criminal Court on 1 December 2020, Yabansu’s lawyer, Celil Tanış, stated that his client was a bedridden 96-year-old patient.
Lawyer demanded Yabansu’s acquittal
Yabansu’s lawyer Tanış demanded her acquittal, stating that it was not obvious that the sentences heard in the video were an insult to the President, and it was not clear from the video who his client was talking about.
On the other hand, in its opinion, the prosecution stated that Yabansu had received a report from Mehmet Akif Inan Training and Research Hospital that she did not have a “criminal license.” The prosecution demanded the “implementation of security measures specific to the mentally ill” for that reason.
The court also stated that Yabansu had no criminal responsibility and ruled that she should be “protected and treated at the nearest high-security health institution until her danger to society ends or decreases significantly.”
Although the court called it the “the nearest high-security health institution,” the Siverek Public Prosecutor’s Office sent a letter to the Siverek District Police Department on 26 October regarding the decision, stating Yabansu should be transferred to Kayseri City Hospital by 1-5 November at the latest.
Appeal by Tanış rejected
Yabansu’s lawyer, Tanış, appealed against the decision but it was rejected by the court. Pointing out that Yabansu is bedridden and her biological age is ‘100’ in the application petition, attorney Tanış said: “It would be like torture to force an old person who is incapable of meeting her own needs to travel for eight hours. Sending this old woman to a city she doesn’t know, waiting to die in her hospital bed, forcing her to live with people she doesn’t know – it will be like sending her to her grave alive. We demand the removal of the decision of implementing security measures against her.”
The lawyer Tanış stated that his client was sued over a video – recorded against her will and published on social media – and stressed that Yabansu is 96 years old on her ID card and her biological age is 100 years old.
He asked: “While my client was talking on the street, someone took a video of her without her consent and posted it on social media. Later, an indictment was issued against her and the court-ordered ‘security measures to be implemented against her. It’s been a two-year trial. There is Diyarbakir 80 kilometers away from Urfa: why is she being sent to Kayseri instead of Diyarbakir?”
She can’t travel 8 hours
Noting that the old woman is scheduled to be taken to Kayseri for treatment despite the “Can’t travel” report, attorney Tanis said, “She is sufferring from high blood pressure, diabetes. She can’t travel for eight hours. She’s afraid of the police. She feels like she will get arrested and sent to prison when she sees the police. A person who has lived for a century should not be treated that way.”