Two Kurdish political prisoners, brothers Seyfettin Yaşa and Metin Yaşa, were released from a Turkish prison on 10 December 2021 after 30 years of incarceration over ”terrorism” charges .
The two brothers spoke to Mesopotamia News Agency (MA) after their release about their experiences in prison where they had spent most of their lives, and about their emotions upon their eventual release.
The Yaşa brothers were sentenced to life imprisonment by the Turkish State Security Courts in 1991 over alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an organisation designated a ‘ terrorist group’ in Turkey.
It should be noted that the Turkish State Security Courts, formed in 1973 following a military coup in Turkey, were special courts that worked only on cases involving ‘matters related to the internal and external security of the republic and the state.’
They were abolished in 2004.
Seyfettin Yaşa was 35 when he was jailed and his brother Metin was 25 years old.
The brothers were sentenced to life imprisonment without any solid evidence and on the basis of the testimony by one single witness.
“We are feeling strong spiritually, but we are also sad since the day we were released. As a matter of fact, we did not really expect to get out of prison at all. ” Seyfettin Yaşa told MA.
‘I was arrested over the testimony made by one single person. There was no other evidence. Many innocent people like me were arrested and have served time. I was sentenced to 30 years for an incident. They made a lot of investigations but could not find any evidence at all. Even a marriage service requires two witnesses. Whether it’s a civil one or a religious one, you need two witnesses. But I was sentenced to 30 years in prison over one person’s testimony. Because I am a Kurd.’
Looking back, Seyfettin Yaşa said it was sheer willpower and consciousness that kept him strong in such prison conditions even as those conditions ‘took away a part of them’ each and every day.
‘We missed the air, the sun. Our ward didn’t have sunlight at all. You miss fresh air, the soil, and all the living things of your homeland. 30 years in prison is not a short time. But one’s willpower can prevail over anything. Otherwise it wouldn’t be possible to live so long there. Many friends got bedridden and were martyred in prison.’
He concluded by saying that he could not really feel happy for having been released.
“We could not really feel happy for our release because of thousands of our friends are still behind bars. We see our own salvation in the salvation of those friends.”