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Turkey sentences German-Kurdish singer to over 6 years in prison

This article originally appeared in Kurdistan 24.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Turkish court on Wednesday sentenced the German-Kurdish singer Saide Inac, better known by her stage name Hozan Cane, to six years and three months in jail over charges of “being a member in a terrorist organization.”

Turkish police arrested Hozan Cane in Edirne Province in late June with accusations of membership in the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) based on her songs, activities, and pictures on social media.

She was visiting Turkey to sing at rallies for the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the run-up to the Turkish general and presidential elections which saw Erdogan emerge victorious.

Cane, 47, who sought asylum in Germany at the height of the Turkish-Kurdish conflict in the 1990s, is a dual German-Turkish citizen.

Prosecutors were demanding up to 21 years of imprisonment when the charges were combined with a second accusation of “inciting public hatred and enmity.”

They said Cane disseminated propaganda on behalf of the PKK through a social media post in which she poses with alleged Kurdish rebels.

The post in question, according to the Kurdish singer, is a scene from her movie “The 74th Genocide in Sinjar” which she directed and played the lead role. The film covers the Islamic State’s 2014 genocide against the religious minority of Ezidis (Yezidis) in the Shingal district, disputed by the Kurdistan Region and the federal Iraqi government.

She appeared in front of an Edirne heavy penal court via teleconference from an Istanbul prison and, in her defense, rejected the charges.

“I am not a member of any organization. I am merely an artist doing art,” she said, the Kurdistan 24 Turkey desk reported.

In September this year, Cane pleaded with her country’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, to help facilitate her release from the Turkish prison.

In a letter she sent to Merkel, she asked the chancellor to raise her case during the then-upcoming state visit to Germany by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It is not known if Merkel asked Erdogan about Cane during the visit that saw the Turkish leader open an Ankara-funded mosque, one of the biggest in Europe.

The new mosque is located in the city of Cologne, where the Kurdish singer lived until her detention in Turkey.

Editing by John J. Catherine

This article was originally published in Kurdistan 24.

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