Kurdish singer on trial for praising rebel leader
On 22 May 2007 a prosecutor demanded that the Kurdish singer Xemgin Birhat be sentenced to five years in prison for performing a song that praises imprisoned Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan
Xemgin Birhat (real name: Zülfü Kızıldemir) was detained in March 2007 after performing his Kurdish-language song ‘Mezin Apo’, (‘The Great Apo’ – Apo is short for Abdullah), at a spring festival traditionally used by Kurds to assert separatist demands, according to a report from the government-run Anatolia News Agency.
In the opening trial on 22 May, the prosecutor asked that Kızıldemir be sentenced on charges of engaging in propaganda in favor of Ocalan’s banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party, PKK.
Kızıldemir rejected the charges and said because he had lived in Germany that for the past 30 years, he was not aware of Turkey’s anti-terrorism laws, the Anatolia News Agency reported.
Turkish Daily News – 24 May 2007:
‘Kurdish singer on trial in Turkey for song praising Kurdish’