Documentary ‘Aysel’ reveals injustices suffered by Kurdish politician

“Aysel,” a documentary filmed as part of the “Women’s Voice for Peace” project, reveals the injustices suffered by Kurdish politician Aysel Tuğluk, who was recently released from prison because she was found unfit for incarceration due to dementia.

“She stood with the lonely ones, those who are discriminated against, the victims, the oppressed,” the documentary says.

The project is being carried out by the SES Equality and Solidarity Association along  with Operation 1325 and the Swedish Institute. 

Tuğluk, 57, was released from prison in northwest Turkey in October after a medical report said her dementia did not allow her to remain behind bars. However, Turkish prosecutors have drafted a new indictment for her.

Tuğluk was the deputy co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) before her arrest in 2016. The politician’s release came following months of campaigning for her by rights activists and opposition politicians due to her medical condition.

In August Turkey’s Constitutional Court rejected a plea for her release even though she was diagnosed with dementia but ordered that she receive regular neurological and psychiatric treatment in a hospital.

However, Tuğluk faces new criminal charges in the recently drafted indictment that seeks a prison sentence of up to 15 years for the ailing politician.

In the indictment, drafted by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in southeastern Turkey, Tuğluk is charged with terrorist organization membership based on witness testimony related to an incident in 2014.

Tuğluk was sentenced in 2018 to 10 years in prison for membership in a “terrorist organization.”

Her supporters believe she developed dementia after witnessing Turkish nationalists attack her mother’s 2017 funeral in Ankara, which the authorities allowed her to attend.

Tuğluk was arrested for her activities with the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), an organization that Turkish authorities consider linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.

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