Nudem, a talented young singer, was thrown into jail in Turkey, for “promoting Kurdish propaganda by teaching Kurdish folk songs to youth music groups”.
In July 2016, Durak’s prison sentence was increased from 10.5 to 19 years, with no additional charges brought against her. She is due for release in 2034.
June 10, 2021 Nudem’s family learned on Wednesday June 9th that Nûdem has again received ”disciplinary measure for “disobedience”, probably again for singing for her jail mates. She is one of tens of thousands of political prisoners in Turkey
Durak began to sing about the age of 12, and bought her first guitar by selling her mother’s wedding ring. She worked as a music teacher in the town of Cizre in South East Turkey at the Memuzin Cultural Centre. She is held in Type E Closed Prison in Mardin, Turkey.
She was first arrested in 2009, and spent several months in jail waiting for trial. After that trial she was released pending appeal. On 22 April 2012 she was arrested again, but in 2015 the Turkish Supreme Court approved her punishment, resulting in her re-arrest and imprisonment. note: the Legal system is subject to President Erdogan who fires and jails judges.
Durak was sentenced to ten and a half years in jail for ‘terrorist propaganda’, due to the political nature of her music. Durak told Al-Jazeera before her imprisonment that “Singing in Kurdish is my heritage from my ancestors… my only crime is making art.”
June 10, 2021 – From Kedistan 88 views
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As her family was rejoicing over the soon-to-be lifted prohibition on visits caused by the Covid pandemic, it learned on Wednesday June 9th that Nûdem received a disciplinary measure for “disobedience”.
The news fell in the morning as the family prepared for its weekly phone communication – one of prisoners’ inalienable rights – and learned it had been cancelled.
Nûdem Durak had “sung in Kurdish” in the prison quarters of the Bayburt prison where she is detained. Or rather, according to the penitentiary’s administration in “a forbidden language we do not understand”. The sanction fell, regardless of whether the song was a ballad, a love song or a call to fighting on.
Speaking of another friend, Zehra Doğan who was in Mardin prison with Nûdem in 2016, wrote in an article:
“Menal has a beautiful voice…She makes the winds rise in the heart of all the prisoners who listen. She grabs every one of them, carries them to their destroyed and burned lands where her melodies sow seeds of freedom. Not for nothing is a disciplinary investigation begun every time Menal sings.”
The Turkish penitentiary administration thus represses in a constant and arbitrary way the beauty of voices and of songs. This time, Nûdem Durak is targeted, she who is precisely in the gaol because she is a Kurdish musician and singer.
For the time being, we cannot know the duration of the disciplinary procedure and if it will be extended to visiting and postal rights. Is this sanction accompanied by physical isolation in a cell? Here again, the family was not informed.
The facts call for a simple conclusion: in the face of this isolation, solidarity must be more on the frontline than ever. Echoing Nûdem’s voice everywhere is a must.
On social networks, with those press and media you know, on the pages and support groups for the Kurds, Nûdem must be talked about more than ever, with a demand for the lifting of this isolating punishment.
Share this information, and the support page.
Her family must be able to see this transnational solidarity just as it is permanently informed of the “Free Nûdem Durak” campaign. This is also the slight consolation you can bring her family in the circumstances.
Singing in Kurdish is not a crime, nor is it an act of terrorism. Speaking and singing one’s language is an elementary and fundamental human right.
As a reminder:
To write to Nûdem:
M Tipi Kapalı Kadın Cezaevi
And to write to a few others…
Find the list HERE.
Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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