Renowned U.S. actor Mark Ruffalo has called for the freedom of Kurdish singer-songwriter Nûdem Durak, who was jailed in Turkey in 2015 on the grounds of singing in Kurdish.
“This beautiful, kindly, gifted human being is being kept in a Turkish prison. Her Crime? Song. She sings the folk songs of her Kurdish people. Please Help and RT. #FreeNudemDurak,” Ruffalo tweeted on March 17.
This beautiful, kindly, gifted human being is being kept in a Turkish prison. Her Crime? Song. She sings the folk songs of her Kurdish people. Please Help and RT. #FreeNudemDurak https://t.co/hpvPCehi6d— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) March 17, 2022
Previously, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters had launched a campaign for Durak after learning that her guitar was destroyed during a routine check in the prison. Famous figures like Noam Chomsky, Ken Loach, David Graeber, Peter Gabriel have also called for justice for Durak.
Durak is currently serving a nineteen-year prison sentence in Turkey's northeastern province of Bayburt. She was arrested in 2015 as part of the widespread crackdown on the Kurdish regions of Turkey following the breakdown of peace talks between the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Prior to her arrest, Durak worked and performed Kurdish music with a group called Koma Sorxwîn in the Cizre cultural center in the heavily Kurdish region near the Turkish border with Syria. The years before the breakdown of peace talks, Kurdish art, media and music was allowed to grow somewhat unabated.
However, in 2015 Durak was accused of having phone calls with alleged PKK members and visiting a location that turned out to be a PKK cell. She was convicted of “membership in a terrorist organization” and sentenced to 19 years in prison. Many Kurdish activists and members of the Kurdish community met the same fate in this era.