Turkey’s infamous Silivri Prison, current home to many political prisoners, has had to register Kurdish MP Semra Güzel as a doctor, failing to put her actual occupation into the system.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP was arrested on 3 September over terrorism charges, based on photographs she took eight years ago with her then-fiancé.
“Semra Güzel’s parliamentary status has not been revoked, not yet. As such, currently, it is a member of parliament who has been jailed,” the MP’s lawyer Bülent Aşa told Mezopotamya Agency. “They could not register her as an MP, so they asked her what she did before she was elected.”
The personal information required for the initial Justice Ministry registry for all incoming detainees in prisons includes their profession or current occupation.
Güzel was dismissed from her position as an intern at the Anaesthesia and Reanimation Department at a university hospital in November 2016, following the government crackdown in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt on 15 July of that year.
The state of emergency decree that removed Güzel from public service also dismissed a total of 5,748 others and shut down 375 NGOs and nine media outlets.
“The system was replacing us with its own cadres,” Güzel told journalist Hamza Özkan at the time. “They isolated those who were not with them, and replaced them with obedient people.”
At the time of her dismissal, Güzel was the co-chair of the Diyarbakır Chamber of Medicine and a union organiser. She participated in campaigns against Turkey’s ongoing involvement in the Syrian civil war, and clashes with Kurdish groups that saw a resurgence after 2015. She said:
“We fought for life, and to keep people alive. These lands have seen war, death, and tears of mothers since birth. We wanted peace. This has been a reason for us to face trial, but we fought for what we believed in.”