Six political prisoners in Sincan receive visit ban for protesting Halabja massacre

Six political prisoners in Sincan women's prison have received a visit ban for allegedly chanting slogans on the anniversary of the poison gas attack on Halabja. Among those affected is the dismissed mayor of Karayazi.

Six political prisoners in Sincan have been punished with a ban on visits from their relatives. The six inmates affected will not be allowed to receive visitors for a month. Telephone calls are also prohibited. The order was issued by the prison administration of the women's jail in Ankara. Actions like these are common there.

The justification for the ban on visits is a “final disciplinary sanction” that the women have been given. The prison authorities accuse them of chanting "forbidden slogans" on the anniversary of the poison gas attack on Halabja. 16 March marked the 34th anniversary of the massacre of the population of the South Kurdish city ordered by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Around 5,000 lives were lost in Halabja at the time, and the effects continue to the present day. This attack was only possible because the poison gas factory from which the deadly bombs came was built using German technology and supplied by German companies.

It is still unclear whether public prosecutor investigations were initiated against the prisoners in connection with the supposedly forbidden slogans. One of the prisoners facing this so-called disciplinary sanction is Melike Göksu, who has been in prison since September 2019. The Kurdish HDP politician was sentenced to seven years and six months in prison in 2017 for "membership in an illegal organization". While the appeal trial was still pending, she was elected co-mayor of the district town of Karayazi in the province of Erzurum in the local elections in March 2019 with 61.83 percent of the votes. Six months after moving into the town hall, the verdict against Göksu became final. Since their arrest and subsequent dismissal, a trustee appointed by the Turkish Ministry of the Interior has ruled in the town.