On 2 July 2020, the 8th Heavy Penal Court of Diyarbakır upheld the conviction and prison sentence against musician Azad Bedran.
The artist has been sentenced to three years and nine months imprisonment for his song Partizan and its music video on the grounds of making “propaganda for a terrorist organisation”. This is the same charge levelled against fellow Kurdish musicians Grup Yorum and Ferhat Tunç.
Although there were unsuccessful attempts of taking the musician into the custody after his concerts in the past, it is the first time that a trial has been opened.
“Not only I, but also many other artists who make Kurdish music, are targeted at this moment. And all are being terrorised just like I am. I am quite a popular artist amongst Kurdish youth, and as ‘they’ saw this, I don’t think they wanted these young people to learn their culture through music,” Bedran told Freemuse.
On 15 January 2019, the Diyarbakır 8th High Criminal Court in Turkey sentenced the musician to three years and nine months in jail for “criminal elements” in the music video for his song Partizan / Partisan, reported Gazete Duvar. The video allegedly “makes propaganda for a terrorist organisation”, according to Susma.
“They think I am doing some propaganda with a phrase about arms that is included in a song,” Bedran said about the lyrics in question. The musician further adds that not all Kurdish artists are facing issues in their work; however, dissident artists are specifically targeted.
Bedran says that music is his only income “But in the past one year, all my concert applications are denied. We are not permitted and face financial difficulty. In short, the destiny of a dissident artist is prison, exile and tears.”
“I make Kurdish music. I reunite my audience with songs coming from my heart,” the musician adds.
Commenting on his sentence, Bedran said that “This is a sentence not given to me but to the whole Kurdish people throughout the world.”
Azad Bedran is a prominent Kurdish traditional and modern musician who creates music for 18 years. He often performed in and outside of the country. You can listen to his albums and singles on YouTube.