Concerned for her disabled children, family calls for release of jailed HDP official

The family of an arrested pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) administrator in Turkey’s eastern province of Kahramanmaraş are calling for her release citing the deteriorating mental health of her two disabled children.

Elif Kısa, a district official with the HDP in town of Elbistan, was arrested on Dec. 3, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

The 64-year old is the mother of two-disabled children, one hearing and speech impaired and the other mentally disabled.

Kısa’s older son who is 44-years-old is severely disabled, which effectively means he is need for constant care, news site Duvar reported.

“My mentally disabled son has become aggressive since his mother was arrested. He is constantly searching for his mother at home. I cannot leave his side for one minute and do something else,’’  father Ali Kısa said. “He screams a lot and cannot sleep at night’’.

Ali Kısa, also a HDP district official, was also arrested earlier this month along with his wife, but was released shortly thereafter. The couple have been detained three times since 2017.

The Turkish government accuses the HDP of harbouring sympathies for and acting in the interest of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an armed group that has been fighting inside Turkey for Kurdish self-rule since 1984. 

An ongoing crackdown on the party has gained momentum following the March local elections with 32 HDP mayors being replaced with the state-appointed officials since and dozens of HDP officials arrested and charged with membership in a terrorist organisation.

Ali Kısa says that his younger son, who suffers from a 64 percent hearing and speech disability, is affected, too.

He says his son has lost his loss of passion for drawing since his mother was placed behind bars. 

“He used to make really good drawings and kept busy with that for 20 years. But he stopped drawing. He doesn’t want to do anything anymore,’’ father Kısa said.