Artist Zehra Doğan, a Kurdish painter and journalist, has been released from a Turkish prison. Dogan, originally sentenced to two years, 9 months and 22 days on 24 March 2017, was tried over a painting depicting the destruction in the town of Nusaybin and sharing it on social media which was deemed by the courts as “terrorist propaganda”.
While in prison, Doğan, who has been nominated for a 2019 Freedom of Expression Awards in Arts, continued to write and produce art despite not having access to materials. The artist began using food and even her own blood as paint and letters, milk cartons or newspapers as her canvas. Doğan had also founded JINHA, Turkey’s first women’s news agency, which was shut down in 2016 under Statutory Decree No. 675 along with 180 other media outlets in the wake of the failed coup.
“We are very pleased to hear about her release and that she can rejoin her loved ones,” says CEO of Index on Censorship, Jodie Ginsberg. “We admire her strength and her perseverance to keep her art alive despite imprisonment and conditions. Her detention was unjust and we hope that there is justice for her and many others who continue to be arbitrarily detained in Turkey.”