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Turkey: Artist sentenced to two years and ten months in prison

10 March 2017
Turkish artist Zehra Doğan was sentenced to 2 years, 9 months & 22 days in prison for her painting showing the destruction of the Kurdish city of Mardin.
Photo: Zehra Doğan/Twitter

 

Turkish artist, activist and journalist Zehra Doğan was sentenced to two years, nine months and 22 days imprisonment for her painting showing the destruction by Turkish security forces of the Kurdish city of Nusaybin in the Mardin district, reported Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet on 6 March 2017.

While on assignment for the all-female news agency JINHA in Mardin, Doğan made the painting of the destruction, which is an artistic rendering of a photo made by Turkish authorities.

Turkish outlet Bianet shared a now-deleted Twitter post from Doğan’s account on 5 March 2017 in which the artist tweeted: “I’ve received imprisonment for ‘drawing a painting with Turkish flags on ruined homes’. However, it was them who took this picture, I just painted it.”

“My client is a journalist and fine arts graduate. Her paintings were posted without a comment,” the artist’s lawyer Aslı Pasinli said.


Initial arrest and detention
The artist was initially arrested on 21 July 2016 on charges of being a “member of an illegal organisation” and “spreading propaganda”. She remained detained until 9 December 2016 when she was released awaiting trial.

At the time of her arrest, authorities claimed her painting was proof that she was part of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a left-wing militant group that fights for Kurdish rights in Turkey, which the Turkish government has labelled as a terrorist organisation.

According to Hyperallergic, Doğan was acquitted of the original charges, but was sentenced for the painting and her coverage of a ten-year-old child’s notes or grades (there are conflicting reports as to whether they were notes or grades).

Art Forum reported that Mardin’s Second High Penal Court assessed that it wasn’t the painting itself that landed her in prison, but rather her choice to share it on social media as it showed military operations.

The all-female news agency JINHA, where Doğan was an editor, was shut down by government authorities on 29 October 2016 as part of the ongoing, wide-sweeping post-coup crackdown that has seen dozens of artists and artistic venues silenced, thousands arrested and hundreds of media outlets and civil-society organisations closed.

Turkish artist Zehra Doğan was sentenced to 2 years, 9 months & 22 days in prison for her painting showing the destruction of the Kurdish city of Mardin.
Military photo/Hakan Topal Twitter

 

Turkish artist Zehra Doğan was sentenced to 2 years, 9 months & 22 days in prison for her painting showing the destruction of the Kurdish city of Mardin.
Zehra Doğan painting/Hakan Topal Twitter



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Freemuse is pleased to learn that artist, activist and journalist Zehra Doğan has been released from a Turkish prison.

Turkey: Artist Zehra Doğan released from jail

Freemuse is pleased to learn that artist, activist and journalist Zehra Doğan has been released from a Turkish prison.