Kurdish journalist and women’s rights activist Ayşe Gökkan has been detained by the Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court on charges of “being a member of a terrorist organisation” and “being the executive of a terrorist organisation”. Gökkan, who has been an active member of the Kurdish movement and Kurdish women’s movement for 35 years, was sent to Diyarbakır Women’s Closed Prison on 29 January.
Her attorney, Lütfiye Berfin, spoke to the Mesopotamia News Agency about the arrest. and pointed out the lack of evidence in the case. “This trial has lasted for 18 sessions and anonymous witnesses have been heard in 10 sessions”, she said. “My client made statements in only three sessions of the remaining eight. Apart from the ‘evidence’ of these anonymous so-called witnesses, there is no other evidence in the file”.
Berfin also stated that her client was arrested on the suspicion of a severe crime, obscuring evidence, disturbing public order, and posing a danger. “It makes no sense. Ayşe Gökkan was present whenever she was called to the court”, she said.
She pointed out that all other charges alleged in the file were also present in her client’s file when she was arrested in 2017. She also said that the court did not answer any of the questions they asked. “Their aim was to put her behind bars, it was obvious”, she said. “There has been very serious ‘judicial harassment’ of politicians and women activists, especially since 2016.
“The European Council of the Human Rights Commissioner’s report also emphasised these judicial harassments”, she said.
Affirming that they will continue their objections against the arrest warrant, Gökkan’s attorney said, “It is clear that our client has been targeted. She has been taken into custody from a permanent file but later released, and then taken back into custody 10 days later. For about three years this has been happening. Despite this, she didn’t go anywhere. She insisted that she will not leave the country”.