Rights activist writer gets suspended sentence over Kobani tweet

Rights activist Nurcan Kaya

A suspended prison sentence of 15 months has been handed down to a writer, lawyer and human rights activist in Turkey due to a tweet she posted in 2014 about resistance in the Syrian town of Kobani against the occupation of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Turkish Minute reported, citing the Bianet news website.

Nurcan Kaya was sentenced due to her tweet, which said: “Not only Kurds but all the people living in Kobani are resisting. Democratic Arabs are also resisting…” against the siege by ISIL.

Kaya was given the sentence by a high criminal court in the predominantly Kurdish province of Diyarbakır on Monday. She was charged with disseminating terrorist propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

According to the prosecutor’s office, Kaya publicly “justified, praised and encouraged the forceful, violent and threatening methods of the PKK, the Kurdistan Communities Union [KCK] and People’s Protection Units [YPG], all recognized as terrorist organizations by Turkey.”

In her defense Kaya said she was a rights activist and was put on trial because her social media messages disturb the Turkish government. She said her messages are within the limits of freedom of speech and that she will continue to promote peace instead of war.

“It’s clear that my standing trial here has nothing to do with terrorist propaganda,” she said.

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