Kurdish prisoner Nesimi Kalkan, who has been in prison for 30 years and is listed as a sick prisoner by the Human Rights Association (İHD), was released on Sunday and greeted with a mass welcome in his home town in Şırnak (Şirnex) province in southeast Turkey.
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According to the Mezopotamya news agency, Kalkan has spent the past three decades in various prisons in different cities in Turkey, and was released from a prison in the Tarsus district of Mersin in the south of the country.
Kalkan was arrested in 1992 in the Cizre (Cizîr) district of Şırnak and sentenced to life imprisonment by the State Security Court (DGM), a specialised court that dealt with cases considered a threat to national security, for “undermining the unity and integrity of the country”.
Turkey’s controversial State Security Courts
Established after a military coup in 1961, the DGMs were first closed in 1976. However, they went back into operation in 1984 after the 1980 military coup. There were civilian judges in the DGMs appointed directly by the government, which at the time of their establishment was a military junta, and military judges, appointed by the prime minister and one of the cabinet ministers.
Military judges were removed from the DGMs in 1999. In the same year, their powers were extended to the emergency regions, which at the height of the Kurdish conflict included the Kurdish-majority east and southeast.
Many Kurdish politicians and activists were tried in the DGMs. The DGMs were finally abolished by a constitutional amendment in 2004, but replaced by Special Authority Courts.