Jailed Kurdish politician Kışanak subjected to ill-treatment en route to sister's funeral

Labour Party MP Sevda Karaca stated that jailed Kurdish politician Gültan Kışanak was "subjected to torture and intimidation" during her travel to her sister's funeral on Aug. 9.

Kışanak (right of the man with white shirt) during her sister's travel

Duvar English

Labour Party MP Sevda Karaca on Aug. 16 published a statement about the ill-treatment faced by jailed veteran Kurdish politician Gültan Kışanak during her travel to her sister’s funeral with prision guards. 

Kışanak had been held in Kandıra High Security Prison in northern Kocaeli province and was taken to eastern Elazığ province for the funeral on Aug. 9. After the funeral, she was taken to the prison in Elazığ province without being informed, according to the MP. 

Karaca stated that after the funeral Kışanak was taken there to stay overnight without any belongings or medication and that she spent the night in a “warehouse-like, very dirty place.”

When Kışanak asked the reason for staying in a different prison, the officials told her that the funeral permission was scheduled for four hours outside and that this time had expired.

Kışanak's request to meet with an authorized person in the morning was not responded. Upon the incarcerated politician's request to meet with her lawyer, the prison guards responded, "We are not responsible, the gendarmes who brought you here are the one one who are responsible.”

Karaca mentioned that, her family was later notified of her location at Kışanak's urging. However, when jailed politicians lawyers arrived at the prison as instructed by the family, they were left waiting at the entrance.

As soon as the meeting commenced, Kışanak was abruptly removed and taken to way-back to prison in Kocaeli province. She was handed a food bag and instructed to sign a document of proof "that dinner has been served."

After leaving Elazığ, the 62-year-old Kurdish politician was first taken on a seven-hour car journey to central Anatolian Sivas province which is more than 311 km away because “there was no available flight.” 

The air travel from Elazığ province to Sabiha Gökçen Airport, the closest airport to the prison, takes approximately 1h45m. All of Kışanak's travelling expenses had been paid in advance.

Former co-mayor of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır Kışanak has been in jail since her arrest in 2016. She was sentenced in February 2019 to 14 years and three months in prison on charges of “being a member of” and “making propaganda of” the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

However, an appeals court overturned the verdict in the same year, citing lack of procedure and principles during Kışanak’s trial and opening way for the retrial of her.