Kurdish politician Ayşe Gökkan sentenced to 22,5 years in prison

A Turkish appeals court in Amed upheld a 22,5-year prison sentence against Kurdish politician and former mayor Ayşe Gökkan in and rejected a request for her release from prison.

Kurdish politician Ayşe Gökkan, imprisoned in Turkey, has failed for the time being with her appeal against her sentence to more than two decades in prison.

Gökkan had been sentenced to 22 years and 6 months in prison on so-called terror charges by the 9th Criminal Chamber in Diyarbakır in October 2021. A regional court of appeal in Amed (tr. Diyarbakır) confirmed the verdict in the first instance on Wednesday.

The sentence is made up of several sentences: twelve years for alleged leadership of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), seven and a half years for alleged membership of the same organisation and three years for alleged PKK propaganda.

Ayşe Gökkan was born in the Suruç district of Urfa in 1965 and studied journalism. She has been arrested more than 80 times, and the preliminary proceedings against her were usually based on so-called terror charges. In 2009, Gökkan was elected mayor of Mardin’s Nusaybin district with 83 percent of the vote. Most of the investigations against her occurred during her term of office. Gökkan was elected spokesperson of the Free Women’s Movement (TJA) in February 2020. In December of that year, she was sentenced to eighteen months in prison in Mardin. In the trial she was accused of being in a restricted military area and causing damage to property. The charge stems from an act of civil obedience in October 2013. At the time, Gökkan was mayor of Nusaybin and protested against the construction of a wall with a hunger strike on the border with Syria.