Français | English | Castellano

A forced removal mea­sure has just been tak­en by the Turk­ish State against Zehra Doğan. She has been sent to the sin­is­ter prison in Tarsus.

Artist and jour­nal­ist Zehra Doğan, jailed since June 12 2017 in Amed, fol­low­ing a sen­tenc­ing to exact­ly 2 years, 9 months and 22 days in prison, and hav­ing already done 141 days of pre-tri­al deten­tion, could hope for a lib­er­a­tion by the end of Feb­ru­ary 2019. We have just learned that she was sep­a­rat­ed from her co-detainees in the women’s quar­ters of the jail in Amed (Diyarbakır) and sent to the deten­tion cen­ter in Tar­sus, one reknowned for its vio­lence, its repres­sion and its vio­la­tions of pris­on­ers’ rights.

The prison in Amed is not spared by repres­sion but the polit­i­cal pris­on­ers can ben­e­fit from some sup­port due to the fact Diyarbakır is a his­tor­i­cal cen­ter of Kur­dish resis­tance, depite the fear and divi­sions instilled by the regime since 2015/17. Zehra could ben­e­fit from this rel­a­tive sup­port local­ly, and espe­cial­ly from the prox­im­i­ty of her fam­i­ly. This removal mea­sure is a de fac­to sanc­tion and an attempt to cut off Zehra from her close ones and the links of sol­i­dar­i­ty, no mat­ter how ten­u­ous, thus oblit­er­at­ing the pres­ence of any encour­ag­ing entourage.

Zehra is not the only one hit by this mea­sure which was tak­en with­out pri­or warn­ing to her fam­i­ly or her lawyers. For those of which we are present­ly aware, they involve the fol­low­ing: Neza­hat Şingez, Sev­gi Altınel, Zehra Doğan, Gül­ten Orak, Hat­ice Ay, Sabi­ha Turan, Sakine Bozkuş, Maşal­lah Dağ, Hal­ime Işıkçı, Mehtap Yıl­maz, Mer­al Temel, Evin­dar Aydın, Bahar Avcı, Ayhan Akgül , Saadet Ergin, Özliyet Fil­iz­er, Rukiye Bakış.

The prison in Tarus is known for its vio­lence, accom­pa­nied by the abuse and harass­ment against pris­on­ers that marked the year 2018, among oth­ers.  The pro­por­tion of male guards is very high in the women’s quar­ters, mark­ing this jail as an acknowl­edge pilot-prison in mat­ters of repres­sion. It con­sists of iso­la­tion cells and extreme­ly restrict­ed quar­ters (3 or 8 peo­ple). It is under mil­i­tary dis­ci­pline and, as else­where, the use of the Kur­dish lan­guage is not tol­er­at­ed in pub­lic. (An inter­view done with Zehra in Sep­tem­ber 2017 spoke of this prob­lem already: “Zehra Doğan – Report­ing from her prison with Sara Aktaş” Click to read).

Even if the town of Mersin has an impor­tant Kur­dish com­mu­ni­ty, the region is most­ly nation­al­ist (AKP, CHP, MHP). These three polit­i­cal for­ma­tions are the ones fight­ing out con­trol of the region at the next munic­i­pal elections…

For Zehra’s fam­i­ly, the dis­tance of some 600 km will seri­ous­ly restrict vis­it­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties. The same will hold true for the oth­er pris­on­ers, five of which are severe­ly ill.

Crowd­ing in the Amed prison is the rea­son invoked for this “trans­fer” in the vehi­cles known as “rings” and which con­sti­tute a ver­i­ta­ble ordeal, notably for the sick. The trans­fer was done “ille­gal­ly” since nei­ther the lawyers nor the fam­i­lies received pri­or notice. All of them learned of them by word of mouth or thanks to the vig­i­lance of friends…

Trans­fers of pris­on­ers fre­quent­ly involve strip search­es. Tes­ti­monies received from the prison in Tar­sus at the begin­ning of 2018 men­tioned this as a com­mon practice.

Thus, it is urgent to bring to light what  con­sti­tutes yet anoth­er infringe­ment to the fun­da­men­tal rights of these twen­ty pris­on­ers. And demand an imme­di­ate ressump­tion of com­mu­ni­ca­tions with the fam­i­lies and lawyers as much for Zehra as for the oth­ers on whose behalf,  until now, she could tes­ti­fy thanks to the cross-bor­der sol­i­dar­i­ty that has sprung up around her.

In the com­ing days, Zehra is to receive the pres­ti­gious prize of “courage in jour­nal­ism” in the Unit­ed States. Those offer­ing her this prize must make it a point of hon­or to denounce this  new devel­op­ment, and bring it to the atten­tion of the pub­lic. We invite PEN Club Inter­na­tion­al and its var­i­ous sec­tions that sup­port Zehra, to “make noise”, as well as for Amnesty and asso­ci­a­tions of jour­nal­ists, so that this forced removal does not allow the Turk­ish regime to reduce Zehra into silence.

Share this appeal for help as much as you can. Any  iso­lat­ed pris­on­er  in Turkey is in dan­ger. Avoid­ing anonymi­ty when faced with a repres­sive mea­sure offers a min­i­mum of pro­tec­tion. Demand­ing imme­di­ate resump­tion of com­mu­ni­ca­tions and vis­its must con­sti­tute the most urgent mat­ters in the com­ing days.

Even if Turkey is a vast prison for many, we con­tin­ue to demand the lib­er­a­tion of our friend Zehra !

PLEASE NOTE: None of the cor­re­spon­dence sent to to the for­mer address in Diyarbakır prison will reach Zehra.

New address : 

Zehra Doğan C‑3
Tarsus Kadın Kapalı CİK 
Alifakı Mahallesi Alifakı sokak 
Tarsus – MERSİN 

Site Web Offi­cial | Zehra’s videos Face­book @freezehradogan 

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
You may use and share Kedistan’s articles and translations, specifying the source and adding a link in order to respect the writer(s) and translator(s) work. Thank you.
KEDISTAN on EmailKEDISTAN on FacebookKEDISTAN on TwitterKEDISTAN on Youtube
Le petit mag­a­zine qui ne se laisse pas caress­er dans le sens du poil.