Leyla Imret dedicated prize to the Martyrs

Former co-mayor of Cizre, Leyla Imret dedicated the Carl von Ossietzky Medal to martyrs for Kurdish freedom.

The International Human Rights League, based in Berlin, has awarded the German human rights defender Carl von Ossietzky Medal to Cizre Municipality Co-mayor Leyla İmret and social worker Ottmar Miles Paul for their civil courage and their commitment to the realisation of human rights.

Leyla Imret, now living in Germany, was elected Co-Mayor to Cizre Municipality in the elections held in 2014, but the AKP removed her and dozens of other elected representatives from their posts by appointing trustees in their place.

Leyla Imret was elected with 83 percent of votes. In her office, she worked with all her strength for reconstruction, equality and humane conditions in the city suffering the consequences of the war.

After the parliamentary elections in 2015 the Turkish government imposed curfews on several cities in the region. Also in Cizre.

A case was opened against Leyla Imret for "inciting the people to an armed uprising against the state" and "propaganda for a terrorist organization".

After her removal from office by the Ministry of the Interior, against which she filed a complaint, and after repeated arrests, she saw herself forced to flee back to Germany.

Regardless of her personal danger situation, in which she also finds herself outside Turkey because of her courageous engagement, in 2018 she testifies as an expert witness before the International Tribunal of Peoples in Paris on human rights violations and war crimes committed by the Turkish state in her city.

From exile, she continues to fight fearlessly for her return to the mayor's office, where she was democratically elected, and continues to courageously stand up for human rights in Turkey and for a peaceful and just solution to the Kurdish question.

Leyla Imret shared the Medal with the activist Ottmar Miles-Paul, visually and hearing impaired. He has been active in the disability movement for over 30 years. He studied social work in Kassel from 1985 to 1990. During a 15-month stay in Berkeley near San Francisco, he came into contact with disability policy in the USA and received valuable impulses for a new concept of equality for people with disabilities.

Award Ceremony

On Sunday at noon, an award ceremony was held at the Gripst Theater in Berlin. International legal expert, Norman Paech, and the President of the Lower Saxony Disabled Athletes Association, Karl Finke delivered speeches.

Prof. Paech recalled the Turkish state intervention in Cizre and described the war crimes and human rights violations the city suffered.

Paech drew attention to the isolation regime imposed on Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan and said the withdrawal of isolation and the negotiations between the PKK and the Turkish state should begin immediately in search for a political solution.

Leyla Imret expressed her pride in being awarded this prize and thanked the International Human Rights League. She said that Turkey is no longer a state of law.

In an interview with ANF after the award ceremony, Leyla Imret stated that she dedicated this award to those who lost their lives in the struggle for free Kurdistan, especially those who lost their lives during the resistance in Cizre.

Izmet also dedicated the award to DTK Co-Chair Leyla Güven, who continues the hunger strike in Amed prison. “If we get such awards today, - said Izmet -  is thanks to the struggle of Abdullah Öcalan. Isolation must be lifted immediately.”

HDP former deputies Ahmet Yildirim and Sibel Yiğitalp together with Co-chair of Berlin council, Yeko Ardil were also present at the ceremony.

Awards given from 1962

Since 1962, the International Human Rights League has awarded the German journalist, writer and pacifist Carl von Ossietzky Medal.

Carl von Ossietzky, who lived between 1889 and 1938, fought against the Nazi regime and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1936. Ossietzky, who had been caught planning to escape the Nazi regime, died of tuberculosis following severe torture.

The Carl von Ossietzky Medal was awarded to ‘SOS-Mediterranean’ project and photographer Kai Wiedenhöfer in 2016. In 2014 the Medal was awarded to Edward Snowden, film director Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald.