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Turkish Artist Receives Two-Year Prison Sentence for Painting Destruction of Kurdish City

Zehra Doğan, a Turkish painter and journalist who was detained after the failed military coup last July, was sentenced to two years, nine months, and twenty-two days in jail for painting the destruction caused by Turkish security forces in the Nusaybin district of Mardin Province—a Kurdish region of Turkey, the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet reports.

Doğan was on assignment for the feminist Kurdish news agency JINHA when she was in Mardin and painted the work. The online news site has since been shut down. Claiming that the artwork proved that she was connected to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which the government considers a terrorist organization, authorities arrested Doğan while she was sitting at a café on July 21. “I was given two years and ten months only because I painted Turkish flags on destroyed buildings. However, they caused this. I only painted it,” Doğan wrote on Twitter.

According to Mardin’s Second High Penal Court, it wasn’t the work itself that landed Doğan in jail. Her decision to share an image of the work, which featured current military operations, was what incited her prison sentence. There are also reports that Doğan violated a strict curfew that was imposed after the assault on the city.