79-year-old Peace Mother sentenced to six years in prison

A Turkish court has sentenced 79-year-old Meryem Soylu, a member of the Peace Mothers, to six years and three months in prison for "membership in a terrorist organization." Soylu was put on trial for her involvement in the association, Mezopotamya News Agency reported.

Duvar English

A court in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır has sentenced a 79-year-old to six years and three months in prison for "membership in a terrorist organization,” Mezopotamya News Agency reported on March 17.

Meryem Soylu was on trial within the scope of an investigation against the Families Who Lost Their Relatives in the Cradle of Civilizations, Solidarity and Culture Association (MEBYA-DER). 

Soylu is a member of the Peace Mothers, a civilian initiative made up of women calling for a peaceful resolution to the Kurdish issue.

The prosecutor presented their final sentencing opinion at the last hearing. The prosecutor claimed that Soylu, who was said to be a member and manager of MEBYA-DER, carried out activities within the Kongraya Jinên Azad (KJA-Free Women's Congress).

The opinion stated that Soylu participated in events such as the funerals of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) members and press statements made by the association. In the opinion, Soylu's fee payments to the association and her name being on a "watch list" were also included as evidence of crime.

Objecting to the prosecutor's opinion, Soylu’s lawyer said that there is no concrete evidence in the file that the association is operating on behalf of the PKK, and said MEBYA-DER was founded by families who lost their children, who were members of the PKK.

The lawyer said, “The purpose of the association is the attacks against the dead and graves of people, especially in Turkey. My client did not act on behalf of the PKK while operating within the association. The press statements she participated in are within the scope of freedom of expression.” Her lawyer demanded Soylu’s acquittal.