Posts Tagged ‘P.E.N.’

Türkei: Freiheit für Ayse Berktay!

Montag, November 14th, 2011

“Ayse Berktay imprisoned in Turkey

Ayse was one of the main animators of the World Tribunal on Iraq, which held sessions in Brussels, Tokyo and New York before concluding in Istanbul in 2005. She proposed the Tribunal in 2002, at a meeting of the European Network for Peace and Human Rights, which the Russell Foundation convened in the European Parliament in Brussels. She works as a translator, and her Turkish translation of Black Beauty has been widely acclaimed.

Urgent Appeal: Stop Arbitrary Detentions in Turkey!

The Petition

The international public has so far been oblivious to the so-called “KCK operations” carried out in Turkey by Prime Minister Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party for the past two years. Under the guise of “fighting terrorism,” the Erdogan government has been using the judiciary, the police, and the media to penalize all civic activism in support of rights demanded by Kurdish citizens in Turkey. The “KCK operations” in particular have been deployed to spread fear amongst activists, to silence public dissent, and to normalize the arbitrary arrest of citizens. Ironically, the Erdogan government’s suppression of dissent and of democratic politics has visibly intensified at a time when “Turkish democracy” is being hailed as a model for the Arab world.

Since 2009, as many as 7748 people have been taken under custody on the alleged grounds that they are associated with the KCK—an organization claimed to be the urban branch of the armed organization known as the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party)—while 3895 people have been arrested and imprisoned without even the prospect of a trial in the foreseeable future. Elected mayors, public intellectuals, members of civic associations, journalists, university students, researchers, academics, and activists have all been undergoing this heavy-handed treatment.

One of the latest victims of the Erdogan government’s assault on public dissent is Professor Busra Ersanli of Marmara University, a highly respected academic. Her only apparent “crime” is to have played an active role within BDP (Peace and Democracy Party), which has been struggling for the rights of Kurdish citizens in Turkey. The members of this party have been systematically targeted by counterterrorism units’ arbitrary arrests, even as the party currently holds seats in the parliament. Professor Ersanli was to attend a conference on “Controversial Issues in the History of the Turkish Republic” at Istanbul Bilgi University on 29 October 2011, but she was taken under custody on 28 October. On the same day, RagÄp Zarakolu—a founding member of the Human Rights Association and the former chair of the “Writers in Prison Committee” of the International PEN organization in Turkey—was also taken under custody within the framework of the “KCK operations.”

Earlier in October 2011, Ayse Berktay (Hacimirzaoglu)—a renowned translator, researcher, and global peace and justice activist—was taken by the police from her home in Istanbul five o’clock in the morning and subsequently arrested. She still remains imprisoned for the foreseeable future. Professor Busra Ersanli, Ragip Zarakolu, and Ayse Berktay are among thousands of people who have been imprisoned and silenced in the last two years.

Under such political conditions that are only getting worse, it has become an urgent task to unmask the arbitrary and authoritarian character of the Turkish government’s handling of the Kurdish issue. We are calling on friends abroad to spread the news and to build international pressure, which has become especially crucial and urgent at this time when any citizen of Turkey could be targeted by the Erdogan government, the judiciary, and the police for engaging in political acts of solidarity with those detained under the “KCK operations.”

Peace can never be achieved under the current conditions of public fear, paranoia, and authoritarian politics. Please sign the petition below to put pressure on the Turkish government to immediately release all those who have been taken under custody as part of the “KCK operations” and to demand that Prime Minister Erdogan’s government make a sincere commitment to ending its suppression of civic efforts in support of rights demanded by Kurdish citizens in Turkey.”


(Quelle: Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation.)

[Um diese Petition zu unterstützen, klicken Sie bitte hier.]

Burundi: Lebenslang für “Landesverrat”?

Dienstag, Mai 10th, 2011

BURUNDI: Imprisoned editor faces life prison sentence for ‘treason’

6 May 2011

Update # 1 to RAN 57/10

The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International (WiPC) protests a Burundi State Prosecutor’s 13 April 2011 request for a life sentence to be imposed on the editor of the online press agency Net Press Jean-Claude Kavumbagu on a charge of treason. Kavumbagu has been imprisoned since 17 July 2010 over an article in which he suggested that the Burundian security forces would not be able to defend the country in the event of a terrorist attack. The court is due to reach a verdict by mid June. The WiPC believes that Kavumbagu is being held in violation of his right to freedom of expression, guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, to which Burundi is a state party. It calls on the Burundian authorities to drop all charges against Kavumbagu and to release him immediately and unconditionally.

Jean-Claude Kavumbagu published an article on 12 July 2010, one day after suicide bombings in Kampala, Uganda, criticizing the capacity of Burundian security forces to protect the country from a terrorist attack. Somali Islamist armed group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the bombings in Uganda. They also threatened to attack Burundi in retaliation for Burundi’s participation in the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Kavumbagu’s article said that "the anxiety has been palpable in Bujumbura and all those who have heard about [the bombings] yesterday in Kampala were convinced that if the al-Shabaab militants wanted to try ‘something’ in our country, they would succeed with disconcerting ease, [as] our defense and security forces shine in their capacity to pillage and kill their compatriots rather than defend our country." The journalist was arrested on 17 July, questioned without a lawyer, charged with treason, and transferred to Mpimba Central Prison, Bujumbura. He was also charged with defamation and violating Burundi’s press law. His application for bail was rejected in September and confirmed on appeal in November.

At a hearing on 13 April 2011, a state prosecutor asked a panel of judges to impose the maximum life sentence for treason on Kavumbagu. His defence lawyers called for his release on the basis that ‘treason’ is only applicable at times of war and that during the bail appeal hearing in November 2010, a state prosecutor had already acknowledged that Burundi was not at war. They also argued that the prosecution’s charges of defamation against the army and police were not applicable because the criminal code restricted the use of such charges to cases in which those allegedly defamed were individuals or groups of individuals, not institutional bodies. The court had two months (until mid-June) to reach a verdict.

Mpimba Central Prison, where Kavumbagu is detained, is overcrowded and insanitary and conditions fall well below international standards.

Kavumbagu was previously imprisoned in September 2008 and charged with defamation for an article in which he stated that the cost of President Nkurunziza’s trip to see the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics caused some civil servants’ salaries to be paid late.

For more information, see PEN International’s previous Rapid Action alert (16 December 2010):

Useful links:

- Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) (14 April 2011):

- Interview with Kavumbagu published on the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Blog (13 December 2010):

- Report by CPJ (9 December 2010):

Take Action

Please send appeals


  • Expressing grave concern that journalist Jean-Claude Kavumbagu has been detained since July 2010 on charges of treason and defamation for criticizing the Burundian security services;
  • Calling on the authorities to drop the charges against Kavumbagu and to release him immediately and unconditionally;
  • Reminding the authorities that, as a state party to the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Burundi is obliged to uphold the right to freedom of expression.

Président de la République Pierre Nkurunziza
Présidence de la République
Boulevard de l’Uprona
Rohero I
BP 1870
Fax: +257 22 24 89 08
Salutation: Monsieur le Président/Excellence

First Vice-president
Premier Vice-président Yves Sahinguvu
Présidence de la République
BP 1870
Fax: +257 22 22 74 90
Salutation: Monsieur le Premier Vice-président/Excellence

Minister of Justice and Keeper of Seals
Monsieur Jean-Bosco Ndikumana
Ministre de la Justice et Garde des Sceaux
Ministère de la Justice et Garde des Sceaux
BP 1880
Fax: +257 22 21 86 10
Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre

NB – it may be difficult to get through to fax numbers in Burundi; please keep trying

If possible, please also send copies of your appeals to the diplomatic representative for Burundi in your country. Details of some Burundian embassies can be seen here:

***Please send appeals by 10 June 2011***

For further details please contact Tamsin Mitchell at the Writers in Prison Committee London Office: International PEN, Brownlow House, 50-51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER Tel: +44 (0) 207 405 0338 Fax +44 (0) 207 405 0339 email:


Türkei: PEN ruft zur Unterstützung von Pinar Selek auf

Mittwoch, Mai 19th, 2010

“Die türkische Schriftstellerin und studierte Soziologin Pinar Selek, derzeit Stipendiatin im Writers-in-Exile-Programm des deutschen P.E.N.-Zentrums, setzt sich leidenschaftlich sowohl für die Interessen sozial benachteiligter Gruppen als auch für die Rechte ethnischer Minderheiten ein, etwa der Kurden und der Armenier. Sie ist Autorin von Sachbüchern mit soziologischer Thematik, schreibt Kinderbücher und arbeitet zur Zeit an einem Roman. Im Berliner Orlanda Verlag erscheint in wenigen Tagen die deutsche Übersetzung ihres Buches Zum Mann gehätschelt — zum Mann gedrillt, das sich mit dem Einfluss des türkischen Militärs auf die Familie befasst.

Ende der neunziger Jahre wurde Pinar Selek wegen angeblicher Propagandaarbeit für die PKK verhaftet, saß zweieinhalb Jahre in U-Haft und wurde schwer gefoltert. Erst im Gefängnis, Monate nach ihrer Festnahme, konfrontierte man sie mit dem Vorwurf, im Auftrage der PKK einen Bombenanschlag auf den Istanbuler Gewürzbasar verübt zu haben. Das Verfahren zog sich über acht Jahre hin. Nachdem zahlreiche Gutachter bestätigt hatten, dass die Explosion auf dem Basar nicht auf eine Bombe, sondern auf eine defekte Gasflasche zurückzuführen war, und nachdem der Hauptzeuge der Anklage eingeräumt hatte, seine Pinar Selek belastenden Aussagen unter der Folter gemacht zu haben, wurde sie 2006 freigesprochen. Anfang letzten Jahres ging der Fall jedoch wegen angeblicher Formfehler vor die oberste Instanz. Dort wurde der Freispruch kurzerhand wieder aufgehoben, wogegen der Oberstaatsanwalt desselben Gerichtshofs indes Widerspruch einlegte, der aber abgewiesen wurde. Am 8. Februar 2010 haben wir erfahren, dass die berüchtigte 9. Strafkammer des Obersten Kassationsgerichts in Ankara Pinar Seleks Verurteilung zu einer lebenslänglichen Freiheitsstrafe fordert.

Pinar Selek ist in den vergangenen zehn Jahren in der Türkei zu einer Ikone der Demokratiebewegung geworden. Es ist unübersehbar, dass demokratiefeindliche Kräfte innerhalb der türkischen Justiz ihren Einfluss nutzen wollen, um eine mutige Autorin mundtot zu machen. Gerade wurde sie in der Türkei mit dem diesjährigen Duygu-Asena-Preis des türkischen P.E.N.-Zentrums ausgezeichnet, den sie leider nicht persönlich entgegennehmen konnte.

Pinar Selek braucht in diesen Tagen, da die Urteilsverkündung bevorsteht, die Unterstützung der Öffentlichkeit nicht nur in der Türkei, sondern weltweit. Im Verlauf des Prozesses haben sich Persönlichkeiten wie Orhan Pamuk, Yasar Kemal, Noam Chomsky und Claudia Roth für Pinar Selek eingesetzt. Die progressive türkische Presse nimmt sich der Angelegenheit zur Zeit verstärkt an. Eine Liste mit den Namen unzähliger Verbände und Organisationen im In- und Ausland findet sich auf der Website von Pinar Selek, ebenso eine weitere Liste mit den Namen zahlreicher bekannter Personen. Das deutsche P.E.N.-Zentrum hat Schriftsteller, Künstler, Politiker und andere Persönlichkeiten des öffentlichen Lebens gebeten, Pinar Selek mit ihrem Namen zu unterstützen. Unterzeichnet haben den Aufruf des P.E.N-Zentrums Deutschland bis jetzt Günter Grass, Wolfgang Thierse, Norbert Lammert, Fatic Akin, Cem Özdemir, Claudia Roth, Heiner Geißler, Christa Wolf, Rüdiger Safranski, Fatih Akin, Klaus Staeck, Wolfgang Kohlhaase, Martin Mosebach, Tilman Spengler, Wieland Förster, Joachim Sartorius, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Necla Kelek, Gregor Gysi, Peter Härtling, Hans-Ulrich Treichel, Daniela Dahn, Renan Demirkan und viele andere. Das deutsche P.E.N.-Zentrum protestiert damit gegen den zu befürchtenden Willkürakt der türkischen Justiz.

Wenn auch Sie Pinar Selek mit Ihrem Namen unterstützen möchten, genügt eine E-Mail an
christaschuenke ‘at’

Hier können Sie sich online dem Aufruf anschließen.

Presseerklärung von Tom Koenigs, Vorsitzender des Ausschusses für Menschenrechte und humanitäre Hilfe des deutschen Bundestages

Brief von Yasemin Öz, Vorstandsmitglied der Frauenkooperative Amargi in Istanbul

Brief von Yaşar Kemal

Links zum Thema:

(Quelle: P.E.N. Zentrum Deutschland.)