Jailed co-chair of MEBYA-DER sentenced to eight years in prison

Yüksel Almas, jailed co-chair of the MEBYA-DER solidarity association for people who lost loved ones in the Kurdish liberation struggle, has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

The Turkish judiciary continues to intensify the pressure on Kurdish civil society. The co-chair of the Solidarity Association of Families of Martyrs (MEBYA-DER), Yüksel Almas, was sentenced to eight years in prison in Amed (tr. Diyarbakir) on Wednesday. The prosecution accuses the Kurd, who has been in pre-trial detention since last March, of being a member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

In December 2021, Almas was sentenced to 10 years in prison for alleged "membership in a terrorist organisation". While the Court of Appeals overturned the decision, her trial re-began at the 9th Heavy Penal Court of Diyarbakır.

Almas defended herself in Kurdish and was represented by her lawyers Muhittin Muğuç and Hava Hülya Atlı in the hearing room.

The court sentenced Almas to 9 years and 9 months in prison, reducing it to 8 years, 1 month and 15 days with discretionary mitigation, and ordered her release with the judgement.

MEBYA-DER is a solidarity association for people who have lost relatives in the Kurdish liberation struggle and has been the focus of state repression in Turkey for some time. "Aid and Solidarity Association for People Who Lost Their Relatives in the Cradle of Civilisations" is the full name of the association, which has branches in several Kurdish cities. The Turkish state uses fallen guerrilla fighters as a means of psychological warfare by vandalising graves and abusing or mutilating the bodies of the fallen. MEBYA-DER is one of the institutions that directly opposes this policy.