10 October 2019 – Responding to the news that reporter, news editor and poet Nedim Türfent had his prison sentence upheld by Turkey’s Court of Cassation yesterday, Salil Tripathi, Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee, said:
‘We deplore the decision of Turkey’s Court of Cassation to uphold Nedim Türfent’s lengthy and unfair prison sentence, despite blatant violations of his right to a fair trial. It is another dark day in Nedim’s ongoing miscarriage of justice. The Turkish authorities must release him immediately and unconditionally, and urgently overturn his conviction.’
Nedim Türfent is serving an eight-year-and-nine- month prison sentence on trumped-up terrorism charges following an unfair trial, during which scores of witnesses said they had been tortured into testifying against him. He spent almost two years in solitary confinement in harrowing detention conditions. Determined to keep writing, he started composing poetry while detained.
PEN International launched a solidarity campaign with Nedim Türfent in December 2018, making him a priority case for the organisation. In February 2019, over 600 people, including scores of members from 25 PEN Centres, signed a global appeal calling for his immediate and unconditional release. Nedim Türfent featured in this year’s PEN World Poetry Day, with one of his poem translated into 18 languages.
Nedim Türfent’s lawyers have also seized Turkey’s Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights. Both have yet to rule on the case.
‘A week ago, as the PEN community gathered for its annual Congress in Manila, we presented an empty chair for Nedim, a painful reminder of his absence and a symbol of our support. We urge Turkey’s Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights to promptly rule on his case. We will not stop campaigning until he is free’, added Salil Tripathi.
For more information about Nedim Türfent and PEN International’s campaign on his behalf, please click here.
For further details contact Aurélia Dondo at PEN International, Koops Mill, 162-164 Abbey Street, London, SE1 2AN, UK Tel: +44 (0) 20 7405 0338 Fax +44 (0) 20 7405 0339 e-mail: Aurelia.firstname.lastname@example.org