Jailed Kurdish journalist Doğan says Turkish prison guards destroyed her paintings

Zehra Doğan, a Kurdish journalist and artist who has been in prison for over a year, has said paintings she made in prison have been seized and destroyed by guards.

“I am subjected to pressure mostly because of my paintings and drawings. Our writings and drawings are thoroughly examined during searches by prison guards. In most cases, they seized the pigments that I derived from waste, bird feces and menstrual blood. They seized 20 of my paintings and told me, ‘It is forbidden, we disposed of them.’ What on earth does disposing of them mean? They are like disposing of a bomb,” Doğan told online news outlet Gazete Karınca in an interview conducted via her lawyers on July 20.

Doğan was handed down a prison sentence of two years, nine months, 22 days for depicting the destruction caused by military operations carried out in the Kurdish-majority Nusaybin district and was sent to Diyarbakır Prison in July 2017.

Turkey is ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF). If Turkey falls two more places, it will make it to the list of countries on the blacklist, which have the poorest record in press freedom.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 238 journalists and media workers were in jail as of July 18, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 177 were under arrest pending trial while only 61 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 143 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down some 200 media outlets, including Kurdish news agencies and newspapers, after a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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