Turkey: Sing a Song, Go to Jail
At a time when the Kurdish issue in Turkey is progressively heating up, the Bianet website brings the story of a Kurdish activist who is facing jail time for simply singing two songs. From the article:
Raziye Kızıl, President of the Komela Jinen Dengbej (KJD) Women Dengbejler House, is dealing with two trials against her on the grounds of having sung Kurdish folk songs. As reported on Monday (10 October), Kızıl, also known as Gazin, was now sentenced to imprisonment of one year in the scope of the first trial. She is facing prison terms of up to another five years in the second case.
On 7 February 2010, Kızıl sang the two songs "Megri" ('Don't Cry') and "Lo Lawo" upon request at the Dengbejler Council held at the Tatvan Municpality Culture Centre (south-eastern Turkey). The event was recorded on video by the police.
The Tatvan Police put forward that in these two songs Kızıl praised two members of an illegal organization named "Mesut" and "Mustafa" who were killed in the course of armed conflicts on the "Gabar" Mountain. The police filed a criminal complaint with the Tatvan Public Prosecution because an "element of crime" had allegedly been constituted.
The prosecution based its opinion on the footage of the police CD and sent the file to the Van 3rd High Criminal Court with the request to open a lawsuit.
The court assessed the Tatvan Public Prosecution's evaluation of the CD and the photographs taken during the event as evidence. Based on Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMY), Kızıl was sentenced to imprisonment of one year on charges of "making propaganda for an illegal organization".
The full article can be found here. On a related note, the Turkish today reported that seven members of a group of members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), who returned to Turkey in 2009 as part of the government's "democratic opening" -- an initiative aimed to solve the Kurdish problem -- were recently sentenced to jail for spreading "propaganda" on behalf of the PKK. More details here.