Over 50 female prisoners given disciplinary sentences for singing Kurdish song

In Sincan women's prison, former HDP MP Ayla Akat Ata and another fifty women have been given disciplinary sentences for singing Kurdish songs and dancing to them and shouting slogans.

Imprisoned politician Ayla Akat Ata and another fifty women in the Sincan prison complex in Ankara have been given disciplinary sentences for Kurdish song and dance on 15 August. The punishment varies between restricting means of communication such as letters or phone calls and a ban on visits for one month each. Three prisoners, Hanım Yıldırım, Jiyan Ateş and Rojdan Erez had their early release cancelled due to the proceedings.

Two prison employees appeared as witnesses in the disciplinary proceedings, but they could only state that "Kurdish texts were recited in a loud voice". There is no indication of the content of the texts in their statements. The prisoners have appealed against the disciplinary sanction and defend that singing and dancing do not constitute a criminal offence. To this end, they referred to corresponding rulings of the Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights.

In a hearing before the prison court, prisoner Dilber Tanrikulu stated: "We are Kurds. Even if we are killed or punished, we will continue to say that our mother tongue is Kurdish."

Ayla Akat Ata said at the hearing, "That day I shouted 'Bijî Serok Apo' [Long Live Leader Öcalan]. I have done this before and will continue to do so. I am convinced that a democratic solution process will take place and Abdullah Öcalan will contribute to this process."

A long-time activist in the Kurdish women's movement, Ata is a lawyer herself. She was in parliament for the HDP and is a founding member of the Rosa Women's Association in Amed (Diyarbakir). In May last year, she was arrested along with dozens of other people as part of the repression against the women's association and subsequently released under reporting conditions. Since October 2020, she has been in prison again, this time because of the "Kobanê investigations".

If the enforcement court does not annul the disciplinary sentences imposed, the 51 women want to take the appeal proceedings to the next higher instance. The women concerned are Alev Yarar, Ayşe Topçu, Fatma Aslan, Leyla Uyanık, Mahide Şahin, Mehtap Kıyar, Nevroz Müçel, Nilüfer Şahin, Sariye Taikesen, Simanur Pamuk, Zerrin Yılmaz, Zeynep Sipcik, Arjin Yüksekbağ, Ayla Akat Ata, Dilan Aslan, Ayşe Yağcı, Berin Sarı, Bermal Birtek, Bircan Yorulmaz, Demet Resuloğlu, Dilan Oynaş, Dilber Tanrıkulu, Dilek Hatipoğlu, Dilek Yağlı, Elif Çetinbaş, Gülşan Adet, Hanım Yıldırım, Hicran Binici, Jiyan Ateş, Melike Kaya, Melike Göksu, Meryem Adıbelli, Mukaddes Kubilay, Mukaddes Kabak, Necla Yıldız, Nedime Yaklav, Nuriye Adet, Pervin Oduncu, Pınar Tikit, Rihan Kavak Özbek, Rojdan Erez, Rozerin Kurt, Saadet Akın, Sabite Ekinci, Sedef Demir, Selver İspir, Şermin Demirdağ, Özlem Demir, Süheyla Taş, Zeynep Bingöl and Servin Karakoç.