Bar associations call for immediate release of Kurdish writer, politician Mahmut Alınak

Several bar associations have issued a joint press statement calling on authorities to release Kurdish politician and writer Mahmut Alınak from prison "as soon as possible." The 68-year-old former HEP deputy was put behind bars for the 10th time on Feb. 17.

Duvar English

A group of bar associations on Feb. 18 issued a joint press statement calling on authorities to release Kurdish politician, writer and lawyer Mahmut Alınak from prison as soon as possible.

The Diyarbakır, Şırnak, Adıyaman, Şanlıurfa, Gaziantep, Batman and Siirt bar associations condemned the imprisonment of Alınak, who has been put behind bars for the 10th time.

Kurdish politician, writer Mahmut Alınak behind bars for 10th timeKurdish politician, writer Mahmut Alınak behind bars for 10th time

The 68-year-old former People’s Labor Party (HEP) deputy was detained on Feb. 13 during a raid at his home in the eastern province of Kars. He was held in police custody for four days in a detention center cell with no heating system amid freezing winter conditions.

On Feb. 17, despite Alınak's health problems, a court ordered his arrest on charges of “terror organization membership.”

The bar associations commented on a video which showed Alınak being handcuffed by the police on Feb. 17 as he was at the courthouse and was about to be dispatched to jail following the court’s decision. The bar associations said that the handcuffing was an attempt to “humiliate” Alınak.

“Handcuffs should not be used unless they are absolutely necessary. People should not be handcuffed unless indications written in the law are present. People should not be escorted with handcuffs if possible and human rights should be respected,” said the bar associations in their joint press statement.

“Mahmut Alınak is a person who is well known and respected by the public. We condemn the illegal and non-ethical attitude towards him while in police detention and at the courthouse. Mahmut Alınak should be released immediately.”

As the reason for the arrest, Alınak is accused of criticism of the Turkish government, among other things, Mezapotamya news agency reported on Feb. 17.

Other accusations reportedly include his conversations with relatives, a proposal to mediate between two quarreling families and his attempt to raise public awareness about environmental protection by collecting garbage together with garbagemen.

Alınak is also accused of having donated the income of his banned book “Mehmet Tunç and Bêkes” to the family of Mehmet Tunç, the co-chair of the People’s Assembly (a local council), who died in one of the basements of Cizre in the southeastern province of Şırnak in 2016 during military curfews.

Orhan Tunç was with his brother Mehmet Tunç when the basement they had taken refuge in collapsed in a bombing. Orhan Tunç’s son Bêkes was later named in honor of his father’s legacy — which means “all alone, solitary, one who has nobody” in Kurdish.

The book was banned when it was sent to an inmate in a prison in Kars.