Musician and 2010 Freemuse Award winner Ferhat TunÁ has been sentenced in Turkey to one year, 11 months and 12 days in prison for making propaganda of a terrorist organization. The charge relates to messages shared on TunÁ's social
media in December 2016, with the terrorist organization referring to the Kurdistan Workers Party and Kurdistan Peoples Community. TunÁ plans to appeal the verdict at the Court of Appeal in the next week.
Alongside this case, TunÁ faces two additional trials on the charges of publicly inciting hatred and hostility f or tweets shared on 16 April 2017, including '#WeAreNotSilent'; and insulting the President through messages shared on
his social media in 2016.
Freemuse calls for a transparent, fair and impartial appeals process and for the Turkish government to drop all charges against TunÁ. Freemuse Executive Director Dr Srirak Plipat said:
The sentencing of Ferhat TunÁ to prison is a human rights scandal in Turkey. When a musician who sings peacefully is imprisoned for promoting terrorism, the world knows that Turkey is stepping up its efforts to silence artists and art
communities. The imprisonment of TunÁ is the imprisonment of artistic freedom in Turkey.
Zere Asylbek has been the recipient of several death threats over her attire in the music video for her song Kyz (Girl), which was written to generate public debate on gender inequality and women's rights in Kyrgyzstan. In the video
Asylbek is seen wearing a jacket and bra.
Freemuse calls for Kyrgyz authorities to ensure the safety of Asylbek and launch a criminal investigation into the threats. Freemuse Executive Director Dr Srirak Plipat said:
It is Zere's right to use art to express herself and the issues she sees as critical for women without fear of being persecuted, threatened or harmed in any way. The government of Kyrgyzstan must protect freedom of artistic expression and ensure
that she is safe and can continue to have this important public conversation in her own country.
In a 19 September interview with Asylbek, the singer told Freemuse that there was a recent, famous case in Kyrgyzstan in which a girl, named Burulai, who was bride kidnapped--an ancient tradition where girls are kidnapped and forced into
marriage--died under police custody. The girl was left alone in a police station with the kidnapper who subsequently killed her. She explained that cases such as this and the general situation for women in the country is what inspired her to
write and perform her song.
Asylbek shared on her Facebook page some of the threats she's received as private messages via social media. One message she received on Instagram reads: If you don't remove the video and don't apologise to the Kyrgyz people, we will kill you
soon. This will be the first and last time. Another private message reads: I will gladly join and cut your head off.