Imprisoned Turkish musician on death fast calls for justice

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İbrahim Gökçek

İbrahim Gökçek, jailed Turkish musician and a member of the leftist Grup Yorum band, gave an interview from his prison cell to the Cumhuriyet newspaper in which he asked for an end to political pressures on the band as a condition to ending the death fast he has been on since Jan. 3.

In an interview published by Cumhuriyet on Monday, Gökçek said all he wants is justice.

“We have given free concerts for people. We have been the voice of the poor, the miners and the workers. We have been put on terror lists for that,” Gökçek said. “I am trying to be a barricade against a great assault.”

When asked what his demands were, the jailed musician said: “First, I would like to be released. They should stop raiding our cultural centers and lift the ban on our concerts. They should revoke the prison sentences handed down to us and remove our name from terror lists.”

Members of Grup Yorum are standing trial on accusations of membership in a terrorist organization.

Thirty members of İdil Kültür Merkezi, a cultural center in İstanbul affiliated with the band, were also imprisoned in a raid on the center in February 2019.

Some of them went on a hunger strike in prison, demanding freedom for the group’s members and an end to bans on its concerts.

Last week, some members of the band were received in Brussels by Marie Arena, the chair of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights.

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