Prisoner remains in jail for singing Kurdish song
KOCAELİ - Hürriyet Daily News
Hürriyet photoAuthorities have refused to release a political prisoner despite the completion of her seven-year sentence at a prison in the northwestern province of Kocaeli on the grounds that she sang a song in Kurdish.
“I have been in prison for nearly seven years. My sentence ran out on Feb. 23, 2012, and I was supposed to be released. The prison administration, however, opened an investigation about me due to a song I sang in my native Kurdish language. They said they were not going to release me until the investigation is over,” prisoner Hatice Şahin said in a letter to the Human Rights Association (IHD).
Prison authorities requested a two-month sentence for Şahin’s alleged offense, and a judge is set to decide whether to approve the sentence or not after receiving Şahin’s testimony today, according to broadcaster CNNTürk’s website.
Lawyer Taylan Tanay, the head of the Istanbul branch of the Contemporary Lawyers Association (ÇHD), said Şahin’s case was related to a regulation that allows political prisoners to be released conditionally after serving three fourths of their sentence.
“A clause that requires ‘good conduct’ on the prisoner’s behalf was inserted after June 1, 2005, to the [regulation regarding] conditional releases. If a convict has been given a disciplinary penalty, they have to serve [their] sentence and then exhibit ‘good conduct’ for the duration of their disciplinary penalty,” Tanay said.
The clause, however, refers to a “disciplinary penalty” and not to a “disciplinary investigation,” Tanay added.
The regulations also require a supervision council to decide whether the prisoner has exhibited good conduct or not in cases where a disciplinary investigation is yet to run its course; the council in Şahin’s case prevented her release by ruling against her, according to reports.