Turkish court sentences German-Kurdish singer to six years in prison | News | DW | 14.11.2018
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Turkish court sentences German-Kurdish singer to six years in prison

A German woman has been found guilty of being a member of a terrorist organization by the Turkish government. She is the third German citizen in as many months to be sentenced to prison in Turkey.

A Turkish court in the city of Edirne has sentenced a German-Kurdish singer to six years and three months in prison, accusing her of being a member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

She was acquitted on two further counts of incitement and insulting the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. In all, she faced up to 13 years behind bars.

The woman, whose trial began on September 26, followed court proceedings via video link from the Bakirkoy women's prison in Istanbul. Her attorney, Newroz Akalin, said the verdict will be appealed.

Turkey, as well as the European Union and the United States, consider the PKK a terrorist organization.

Arrested at opposition campaign rally

The singer, who goes by the name Hozan Cane, was arrested in Edirne in late June after she had appeared at a campaign event for the pro-Kurdish opposition People's Democratic Party (HDP) ahead of national elections. Prosecutors focused on some of Cane's Facebook posts in their arguments.

Cane's family said the photos in the posts were taken during the filming of a movie about "Islamic State" (IS) atrocities committed against Yezidis in Iraq. Yezidis are a religious group, some of whom identify as ethnic Kurds. The photos show Cane with fighters from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria. The Turkish government also sees the YPG — which is fighting IS — as linked to the PKK and has been attacking them militarily in Syria.

Hasty verdict

Mustafa Pekoz, who is part of Cane's legal team, was critical of the swiftness of the court's decision. 

"Not one of our motions was granted during the trial," he told DW. "The court's decision was premature."

He accused the court of quickly handing down its verdict in order "to hinder public support" for his client.

The singer's daughter was also stunned by the speed with which the court reached its decision. Dilan Ors told DW: "It shocked us that the court issued this heavy verdict — guilt of membership in a terrorist organization — in less than 10 minutes. All of our evidence was ignored. We were not expecting a decision like this. Of course we are going to appeal."

Another German with 'terrorist ties'?

The German Foreign Office said the singer is receiving support from the German consulate in Istanbul and that representatives were present during the trial. Cane is a German citizen and a resident of Cologne.

Cane is the third German in as many months to be sentenced to prison in Turkey on terror-related charges. At least four additional German citizens are currently in Turkish prisons and due to be tried on terror charges in the coming weeks.

German Left Party parliamentarian Sevim Dagdelen called Cane's trial "a political farce." She says it simply shows that "Turkey is not a country of laws but rather a despotic regime."

js/sms (AFP, dpa)

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