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Turkish painter and journalist Zehra Doğan arrested

Her art and writing has reportedly been used against her as evidence of ties to “illegal” Kurdish organisation

by Helen Stoilas  |  29 July 2016
Turkish painter and journalist Zehra Doğan arrested
Zehra Doğan
The Turkish artist and journalist Zehra Doğan is among those arrested this week as part of President Tayyip Erdogan’s crackdown after a failed military coup. On Wednesday, 27 July, in addition to closing three news agencies, 16 television channels, 45 newspapers, 15 magazines and 29 publishers, according to the government’s official gazette, 47 journalists were ordered to be detained by police.

For the past five months, Doğan, who is the editor of the feminist news agency Jinha, has been reporting and painting from the Nusaybin district of Mardin province, a largely Kurdish region where a strict curfew was recently imposed. According to her friends on Facebook, she was arrested by police while she was sitting in a cafe on Thursday, 21 July. Doğan was later taken to court where—based on the testimony of an anonymous witness who did not know her name but identified her as “a short lady with a nose ring”— Doğan was charged with being a “member of an illegal organisation”, Jinha reports.

Her art and writing was reportedly used against her by prosecutors as evidence of her membership to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a militant leftist group that fights for Kurdish rights in Turkey, which the government has labelled a “terrorist organisation”. The court ruled that she should be kept in custody pending trial, which could take months.

“Art and paintings can never be used in such a way,” Doğan’s lawyer, Asli Pasinli, told media after her arrest. “This is an attack on art and artistic expression.”

  • Painting by Zehra Doğan
  • Painting by Zehra Doğan
  • Painting by Zehra Doğan
  • Painting by Zehra Doğan
  • Painting by Zehra Doğan
  • Painting by Zehra Doğan

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