On 7 October, the Malatya 2nd High Criminal Court found Meral Şimşek guilty of ‘making terrorist propaganda’ and sentenced her to one year and three months in prison. The court acquitted her of the charge of ‘membership of a terrorist organisation.’ She said she would appeal against her conviction. Her travel ban was lifted by the Court the following day.
On 16 November 2021, Meral Şimşek will appear in court again in a separate case, on the charge of ‘entering a restricted military area,’ for which she faces up to five years in prison.
English PEN calls on the Turkish authorities to overturn Meral Şimşek’s conviction and drop all charges against her.
English PEN joins PEN International and colleagues around the world in calling on the Turkish authorities to acquit Meral Şimşek of all charges. An award-winning writer, poet and member of our sister centre Kurdish PEN, Şimşek risks a lengthy prison sentence for her writings if found guilty. A verdict in the case is expected on 7 October 2021.
Meral Şimşek faces up to 15 years in prison on the charge of ‘membership of a terrorist organisation’ and up to seven-and-a-half years on the charge of ‘making terrorist propaganda’. The indictment notably mentions Şimşek’s short story Arzela, featured in the anthology Kurdistan + 100, in which twelve contemporary Kurdish writers imagine a country they could call their own by the year 2046. At the eighth hearing on 5 October 2021, the prosecutor at the Malatya 2nd High Criminal Court requested her conviction on both charges.
‘The PEN Community stands by Meral Şimşek and will closely follow the hearing on Thursday. The prosecution is seeking her conviction on baseless accusations. The truth is that Şimşek is being targeted simply for peacefully expressing her views. This harassment has to stop immediately. She must be acquitted of all charges,’ said Ma Thida, Chair of PEN International’s Writer in Prison Committee.
More information and suggested actions are available here https://www.englishpen.org/posts/news/turkey-charges-against-kurdish-pen-member-must-be-dropped/