Kurdish-German singer arrested by Turkish court on terrorism charges

Hozan Cane, a German-Kurdish singer who had been performing at campaign events ahead of Sunday’s elections, has been arrested by a Turkish court on terrorism-related charges reportedly related to scenes in a movie about genocide against the Yazidis in Iraq.

According to a report by Germany’s Deutsche Welle (DW), Saide İnaç, 47, who goes by the stage name Hozan Cane, was detained on June 22 in the western province of Edirne while attending a campaign event of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in advance of the parliamentary and presidential elections.

Cane had been performing for weeks at HDP events in Edirne, where the party’s imprisoned presidential candidate, Selahattin Demirtaş, is being held on terrorism charges. The HDP secured 11,7 percent of the vote, making it the second-largest opposition party in the Turkish parliament.

The arrest of dual Turkish-German nationals in Turkey have put major strains on relations between Berlin and Ankara. The German Foreign Ministry said it was aware of her arrest.

Cane was charged with “membership in a terrorist organization” and spreading terrorist propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), according to Turkish media.  In Turkey, suspects facing terrorism-related charges can remain in pretrial detention for months or years before going to trial.

One piece of evidence used against her was a scene from a movie that she directed and played the lead role in, which deals with genocide committed by the “Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) against the Yazidi minority in Iraq,” according to a tweet she posted.

In the scene, she apparently poses with PKK militants and holds a weapon. The PKK swept in from their mountain bases to save Yazidis in Sinjar as ISIL overran the area in 2014. Cane had shared a scene from her movie, “The 74th Genocide in Sinjar,” with PKK militants on Twitter.

Born in Turkey, Cane fled to and sought asylum in Germany in the 1990s after being arrested, tortured and harassed, according to her Kurdish biography. The 1990s in Turkey were marked by a severe crackdown on Kurdish culture and language. She lives in the western German city of Cologne and is a naturalized German citizen.

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