Ex spokesperson for the Free Women’s Movement (Tevgera Jinên Azad) Ayşe Gökkan has been sentenced to an extraordinary prison term of 30 years by a Diyarbakır (Amed) court on Wednesday, on charges of being a member of a terrorist organisation and making propaganda.
Refusing to make a statement in her defence, Gökkan said the court has constantly denied her the right to a fair defence from the very start of the trial.
Comparing the Free Women’s Movement (TJA) to the embers in the Anatolian folklore that drop on the air, the water and the soil initiating a rebirth of nature, Gökkan addressed the court saying, “This ember has matured in Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Iran and Mexico.”
“The rights of my lawyers and the chair of the bar association were violated at the previous session. The 9th High Criminal Court committed this offence in the eyes of the whole world,” she continued. “Therefore I am unable to speak in my own defence. The woman, life and freedom are embers that fall on the earth. There’s nothing I can do before this court.”
Speaking after Ayşe Gökkan, her lawyer Berfin Gökkan indicated that the court was not impartial as it rejected the defence to be made in Kurdish at the 19th session, and once again rejected to hear the defence at the next session saying the audio visual information system (SEGBIS) was not working properly.
“At the last session they ordered the lawyers and the chair of the bar association to be taken out of the court room. We were harshly prevented from making a defence. Lawyers should not be ordered out of the court room.”
Berfin Gökhan then criticised the court for treating them as a side issue in the case after a statement made by a ‘secret witness’ at another trial, who had claimed that they, the lawyers of Ayşe Gökkan, were ‘taking directives.’
She stated that in such conditions they were declining to make a defence on the merits.
The Diyarbakır court sentenced Ayşe Gökkan for ‘membership of a terrorist organisation’ twice in its ruling: First to 12 years in prison, then to 7 years and six months, both on the same charge. She has also been sentenced to three years for ‘making propaganda of the organisation’.
Ayşe Gökkan a prominent Kurdish feminist politician and women’s rights activist has been jailed in Diyarbakır Women’s Closed Prison since 28 January 2021.
At a hearing in March, Gökkan was prohibited from presenting her defence in Kurdish.
Gökkan has been detained 83 times, 215 cases have been filed against her and she has stood in court 600 times so far, due to her women’s and Kurdish rights activism.
Free Women’s Movement (TJA) is the successor of the Free Women’s Congress (KJA) that was shut down in November 2016 when an overall attack on all pro-Kurdish organisations was launched. This was also the time when co-chairs of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and many other party officials were arrested and imprisoned.
TJA struggles for women’s liberation economically, socially and politically and promotes organised power of women.