Asiye Guzel


Asiye Guzel, a former editor of a socialist Turkish newspaper, was arrested in February 1997, accused of involvement in an “illegal” organisation. She spent five years in untried detention until her release in June 2002 pending the final decision of the Supreme Court on her case. In October 2002 she was sentenced in absentia to a 12 and a half year prison term on the basis of a trial that fell short of international standards of fairness.

Asiye is currently living in Sweden, where she has been granted asylum. With dispensations, and allowing for time already served, she faces a further three and a half years in jail if she returns to Turkey. She may never be able to return to her homeland or see her parents and husband again.

Richard McKane and Asiye Guzel


Richard McKane (translator) and Asiye Guzel

While in custody she committed evidence of rape and torture to paper, and the resulting diaries were smuggled out and made into a book –  published, extraordinarily, while she was still in prison in Turkey.  Asiye’s Story has been translated into English by Richard McKane, Deputy Chair of English PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee.

In November 2003 Asiye visited London to attend the launch of the English translation of her book.

Shirvan Nuray, Lucy Popescu and Asiye Guzel

Asiye Guzel with friend Shirvan Nuray and Lucy Popescu (WiPC Programme Director)

 Julia Stonor, member of English PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee, kindly hosted a supper for Asiye and her friend Shirvan Nuray.

cecilie, shirvan, richard, asiye, julia


Cecilie Torjussen (WiPC assistant), Shirvan Nuray, Richard McKane (translator), Asiye Guzel and Julia Stonor (WiPC member)


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