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Journalists' Union of Turkey (TGS) Chair Gökhan Durmuş and TGS Representative to Diyarbakır Mahmut Oral met with jailed journalist Zehra Doğan in Diyarbakır Type E Prison, where she has been held since June 12, 2017.
Doğan said, "Reading real news in prison is like a ritual. We read the news aloud. Everyone keeps quiet, the news speak." Stating that she will be in prison for almost 11 more months, Doğan underlined that prison conditions have deteriorated dramatically after the declaration of State of Emergency.
Doğan, who stays with 15 friends of hers at women's ward, added, "We sang a song in Kurdish. The administration regarded it as a slogan and gave us a communication punishment. That is why, I cannot receive any letters for the last two months."
"Prison administration finds painting dangerous"
Zehra Doğan, who is also a painter, said that the paints, papers and brushes sent to her for painting have not been delivered to her by the prison administration:
"Since the materials are not delivered, I am trying to paint with other methods. When there is no paper, I paint on newspapers. For the color purple, I use cabbage; for red, I sometimes use blood, sometimes crushed pomegranate. I use parsley or crush herbs for the color green. Prison administration finds painting dangerous. How can crushing herbs be dangerous? They said that they destroyed almost 20 of my paintings that I had painted on milk cartons. Why do they destroy them? If they are unfavorable, then they can keep them and hand them back to me when I am released from prison. Besides, -thinking that it can be a means of encoded communication- no books are allowed. It is also a major problem."
Zehra Doğan, who had been in Mardin Type E Prison for 4.5 months, was released at the first hearing of the lawsuit brought on charges of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" and "being a member of an illegal organization" and held held at Mardin 2nd Heavy Penal Court on December 9, 2016. The court ruled that Doğan be acquitted of "membership of an illegal organization" and be released from prison pending trial on charge of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization."
Doğan, whose trial continued at Mardin 2nd Heavy Penal Court, was acquitted of "being a member of an illegal organization" in early March 2017. Zehra Doğan has then been sentenced to 2 years, 9 months and 22 days in prison on the grounds of social media posts that she made between December 21, 2015 - December 9, 2016 as well as making a news report from the notes of a 10-year-old boy in the district of Nusaybin in Turkey's southeastern province of Mardin. Her prison sentence was upheld on June 2, 2017. Doğan was arrested on June 12, 2017.
Turkey's only and first women's news agency Jin News Agency was also closed as per the Statutory Decree No. 675 issued on October 29, 2016.
About Zehra Doğan
Born in 1989, Zehra Doğan graduated from the Department of Painting Teaching at Dicle University in Turkey's southeastern province of Diyarbakır. She worked as a reporter at Jin News Agency (JİNHA) between 2012 and 2016, when the agency was closed by a Statutory Decree.
Doğan worked in Mardin and its vicinity since July 24, 2015, when conflicts erupted and curfews were declared in the region.
Zehra Doğan was granted Metin Göktepe Journalism Award for his news report entitled "The Scream of Yazidi Women," which was about the women subjected to violence by ISIS (Islamic State of Syria and Iraq) in Shingal, Iraq. (EA/SD)
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