A civilian in Turkey has been sentenced to 1 year and 6 months in prison for sharing Kurdish songs on social media.
The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Elazığ, Turkey led an investigation on Yusuf Güneş, a civilian who shared Kurdish songs on his social media account several times during 2021, reported Mezopotamya News Agency.
Güneş was detained on 4 April 2022. The Istanbul Police Department took his statement, after which he was taken to an Istanbul Courthouse where an indictment was filed against him under the allegation of “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation”.
The indictment was admitted by the 32nd High Criminal Court of Istanbul and Güneş was tried. Yusuf Güneş participated in the trial without an attorney.
Güneş told the prosecutor that he did not understand the content of the songs because he cannot speak in Kurmanji dialect.
During the trial, the court asked Yusuf Güneş whether “he is a PKK sympathiser”. The court ruled that Yusuf Güneş produced “terror propaganda” by sharing the Kurdish songs.
Although the songs shared by Yusuf Güneş, Zana û Andok by Mem Ararat, Hatin Ref Bi Ref by Axîn Biro, and Apo Apo by Koma Berwari are theoretically legal to listen in Turkey, the court sentenced Yusuf to 1 year, 6 months and 22 days in jail.
Turkish authorities have previously cancelled concerts of Kurdish musicians Aynur Doğan, the Metin-Kemal Kahraman brothers, Mem Ararat and Pervin Chakar.
Turkey has an extended anti-terror law that suppresses freedom of speech.
United Nations Special Rapporteur said anti-terrorism laws are being used extensively to silence Turkish human rights defenders.