Turkish Singer Lands in Jail for Mentioning Revolutionist

31 January 2011

Turkish folk music singer Pınar Sağ was sentenced to ten months imprisonment for praising leftist revolutionary İbrahim Kaypakkaya at the Traditional 9th Munzur Natur and Culture Festival in Dersim.

Sağ was facing prison terms of up to two years under article 215 of the Turkish Criminal Code (TCK) because her speech made at the festival allegedly contained “praising” of Kaypakkaya, founder of the Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist Leninist (TKP/ML) and the Turkish Workers’ Peasants’ Liberation Army (TİKKO). He got known in 1968 and was killed by severe torture in 1972.

Sağ did not attend the hearing on 27 January. The Malatya 3rd High Criminal Court handed down a prison sentence of ten months to the singer.

At the same day, the same court sentenced Kurdish folk singer Ferhat Tunç to a one-month prison sentence on the grounds of “praising 17 militants, members of the Maoist Communist Party”.

“Stop ‘judicial terror'”

The Istanbul Branch of the Contemporary Lawyers Association (ÇHD) declared in a written statement, “Freedom of thought and expression as guaranteed by the constitution and international agreements became once more the subject of a severe and open violation”.

The association expressed the opinion that the court decision was given “in defiance of all concrete and procedural rules of law”. The statement continued, “It is remarkable how the judiciary slowed down regarding the Hezbollah case and how much it sped up for the trial against Sağ. The Hezbollah defendants are being released while Sağ is being convicted”.

The association called to stop the “judicial terror” and applications that disregard freedom of thought and expression. About Kaypakkaya, who was the subject of the verdict, the association said the following:

“İbrahim Kaypakkaya was made the reason for this conviction. He was killed by torture on 18 May 1972 in Diyarbakır. There is not a single court decision decreeing that Kaypakkaya was guilty. To the contrary, Kaypakkaya, who was killed by torture, does not owe anything to the judicial system but the system owes him”. (EÇ/EÖ/VK)

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