Inmate denied Demirtaş bookmark on grounds of 'threat to prison security'

A prison in Turkey has deemed a bookmark bearing the name of renowned Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş as “terrorist propaganda” and a "threat to prison security," thereby refusing to deliver it to an inmate.

Duvar English

A prison in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri has refused to deliver a bookmark to an inmate on the grounds that jailed Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtaş's name was written on it. 

The prison administration argued that the bookmark sent to Metin Karadoğan, jailed in Kayseri Bünyan No. 2 T Type Closed Prison, was serving as a means to make "terrorist propaganda" and was a "threat to prison security," Mezopotamya News Agency reported on June 14.

The prison administration said that the use of bookmarks is not against the law unless they "make the ideological propaganda of the terrorist organization." "It is seen that the purpose of using the bookmark [in question] is to indirectly carry out the propaganda of the terrorist organization. It was not deemed appropriate to give the bookmark [to the inmate],” the prison administration said. 

The inmate Karadoğan then took the issue to the court. In his petition, Karadoğan stated that Demirtaş ran for the 2018 presidential elections from jail, he has four published books and the European Court of Human Rights (EHCR) had previously sentenced Turkey to pay compensation to the renowned politician. 

However, the court rejected Karadoğan's appeal, arguing that a bookmark that bears the name of Demirtaş has the potential of triggering "negative events in the prison as there might be supporters or opponents of him." These events that may occur may endanger the security of the prison,” the court said, ruling in favor of the prison administration's decision. 

Karadoğan lastly filed an individual petition with Turkey’s Constitutional Court.

Demirtaş has been in prison since 2016. He faces hundreds of years in prison on charges related to the Kurdistan Workes' Party (PKK), despite a previous ECHR ruling that he was imprisoned on political grounds and should be released immediately.