23 October 1997


Playwright Esber Yagmurdereli imprisoned in order to serve 23- year sentence

Incident details

Esber Yagmurdereli



(WiPC/IFEX) - On 19 October 1997, playwright and lawyer Esber
Yagmurdereli was arrested at his home in Istanbul by the Istanbul
Security Directorate Public Order Department. He was taken to the
Department's offices in Gayrettepe, Istanbul where he was held
for two days before eventually being transferred on 21 October to
a prison in Cankiri.

**Updates IFEX alerts dated 19 December and 26 May 1995**

Yagmurdereli, who is blind, had been sentenced to a ten-month
prison term which was finalised on 16 September 1997. He had been
convicted for a speech made in September 1991 in which he accused
the Turkish authorities of human rights abuses against the Kurds
(see IFEX alerts). Yagmurdereli was previously arrested in 1978
and served with a life sentence on political charges during which
time he was elected an Honourary Member of several PEN centres.
He was subsequently freed under the terms of an April 1991
amnesty. However, his freedom was not unconditional and was
reliant on him not being convicted of another political offence.
If so, he would be required to serve the remainder of his
sentence. A life sentence is considered to be the equivalent of
36 years in prison. Yagmurdereli will therefore have to serve the
remaining 22 years and six months of his previous life sentence,
as well as the new ten-month prison term.

Recommended Action

Send appeals to authorities:

  • protesting the re-imprisonment of Esber Yagmurdereli to serve
    over 23 years on charges which fall foul of international
    standards guaranteeing the right to freedom of expression
  • calling for Yagmurdereli's immediate and unconditional release

    Appeals To

    His Excellency Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz
    06573 Ankara
    Fax: +90 312 417 0476/230 8896

    Mr Emre Gonensay
    Minister of Foreign Affairs
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    Disisleri Bakanligi
    06100 Ankara
    Fax: +90 312 419 1547

    Mr Oltan Sungurlu
    Minister of Justice
    Adalet Bakanligi
    06659 Ankara, Turkey
    Fax: +90 312 417 3954 / 418 5667

    Copies to:

    Mr Hikmet Sami Turk
    State Minister with responsibility for Human Rights
    Office of the Prime Minister
    06573 Ankara, Turkey
    Fax: +90 312 417 0476

    President of Parliamentary Human Rights Commission:
    Mr Demir Berberoglu
    Insan Haklari Inceleme Komisyonu Baskani
    TBMM, Ankara, Turkey
    Fax: +90 312 420 5394

    your diplomatic representative in Turkey

    the Turkish diplomatic representative in your country

    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

  • Source

    International PEN Writers in Prison Committee
    Brownlow House
    50-51 High Holborn
    London WC1V 6ER
    United Kingdom
    wipc (@) internationalpen.org.uk
    Fax:+44 20 74050339
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