German-Kurdish singer Hozan Cane, jailed in Turkey, asks Merkel for help

Hozan Cane

German-Kurdish singer Saide İnaç, currently in pretrial detention in a Turkish jail, has written a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel asking for help in securing her freedom as Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan heads to Germany for a state visit later this week, according to a report by Kurdistan 24 on Tuesday.

Turkish police detained İnaç, whose stage name is Hozan Cane, in Edirne in late June on accusations of membership in the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) based on her songs, activities and pictures on social media. İnaç was in Turkey to sing at pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) rallies in the run-up to the Turkish general and presidential elections.

According to the German Press Agency (DPA), İnaç asked Merkel to raise her situation with Erdoğan during a planned meeting between the two leaders. The agency reported on Monday that it was in possession of the letter but did not publish it. In the letter İnaç also complained of health issues and a lack of adequate food in the prison.

Her first hearing will take place on Wednesday, a day before Erdoğan’s arrival in Germany at the invitation of German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Prosecutors accuse İnaç of spreading propaganda for the PKK based on a picture on social media post in which she is posing with alleged Kurdish militants.

The post in question, according to the Kurdish singer, is a scene from her movie “The 74th Genocide in Sinjar,” which she directed and in which plays the leading role. The film covers a genocide perpetrated by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on the minority group in the Kurdistan region’s Shingal area.

İnaç, 47, was born in Turkey before seeking refuge in Germany in the 1990s. She lives in the western German city of Cologne. Several other Germans are being held in Turkish jails after a crackdown on the opposition and Kurds began in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

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