Members of Grup Yorum and fashion designer Şansal released

The members of leftist band Grup Yorum and fashion designer Barbaros Şansal were released from the prison at their at their court hearing in İstanbul on Wednesday.

All the members of Grup Yorum — Ali Aracı, İnan Altın, Selma Altın, Sultan Gökçek, Fırat Kıl, Dilan Poyraz, Helin Bölek and Abdullah Özgün — were detained by police during a concert in İstanbul in November 23, 2016.

Also, Turkish fashion designer Barbaros Şansal, who was arrested in January with the accusation of inciting hatred and hostility through a video message he posted online on New Year’s Day, was released on Wednesday. “Upon our objection, the Istanbul 5th Criminal Court has decided to release Barbaros Şansal,” said Şansal’s lawyer Efkan Bolaç on Twitter.

In early February an İstanbul court rejected an indictment against Şansal that sought a jail term of up to three years on the grounds that the evidence presented in the indictment lacked credibility and accuracy.

However, Şansal has been in pre-trial detention in Silivri Prison and faced harassment due to his sexual identity during the initial days of his imprisonment, according to his own account.

Last month Şansal said he would dedicate his time to human rights activism once freed, in a message sent from prison through an opposition deputy.

The fashion designer also said he would not leave Turkey despite the threats against him, but also said the harassment stopped after he notified the press about the incidents. The jailed fashion designer said he was not able to receive letters or read books and remained in solitary confinement in prison.

Şansal was detained upon his return from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) after he was deported by Lefkoşa authorities over reactions to a video he filmed.

His recent messages were shared with public by Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Zeynep Altıok Akatlı. Akatlı said Şansal told her that a call by the office of the president in Turkey was placed to the KKTC government for his deportation.

In the video, which sparked outrage in Turkey, Şansal uses slang while criticizing several scandals that took place throughout 2016 in an effort to emphasize that there was no reason to celebrate the new year.

In the video he shared, Şansal says he will drink a lot in Lefkoşa and later move to Nicosia to drink more, after enumerating harsh criticisms about corruption, rape, bribery and bigotry in Turkey. He finishes his video with the words: “Drown in your shit, Turkey.”

Şansal was attacked by a group of passengers at the airport in İstanbul upon his return to Turkey. He was subsequently detained and then arrested. (SCF with March 1, 2017

Şansal was detained upon his return from the KKTC after he was deported by Lefkoşa authorities over reactions to a video he filmed.


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