Turkey: 15 Year-Old Kurdish Girl Convicted As Terrorist

Becky Lee Katz at the LA Times Babylon & Beyond blog reports that a 15 year-old Kurdish girl, Berivan Sayaca, who attended a demonstration while visiting her aunt, has been convicted as a terrorist and sentenced to a seven-year, nine-month jail time. Turkish authorities allege that the demonstration was held by the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and they accuse Sayaca of throwing stones at the police. Supporters of Sayaca deny that she was part of the demonstrations, saying that she was only passing by a demonstration “coordinated not by the PKK but by the recently banned Kurdish political party Peace and Democracy, or BDP.”

Decorating a letter to a local human rights groups with hearts and roses, Sayaca wrote: “I’m drowning and imprisoned though I have committed no great crime,” “it is more than I can stand. I feel so much pain. I do not deserve to be here. You cannot imagine how terrible a place the prison is. Words are not enough to explain it. I’m so scared to spend the rest of my childhood in here. I want to be with my family, in my house, go to school, play with my friends. I want to be free instead of being in prison.” According to an anti-terror law passed by the Turkish government in 2006, “minors can be convicted of terrorism and sentenced to 50 years in prison,” and Sayaca is currently waiting until her 23rd birthday to be released, while her “mental health has deteriorated” during solitary confinement.