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Jailed fashion designer to become human rights activist when freed

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Imprisoned fashion designer Barbaros Şansal said he would dedicate his time to human rights activism once freed, in a message sent from prison through an opposition deputy on Wednesday.

Şansal, who was arrested in January for inciting hatred and hostility through a video message he posted online on New Year’s Day, also said he would not leave Turkey despite threats against him in the country.

In early February, an İstanbul court rejected an indictment against Şansal that sought a jail term of up to three years on the grounds that the evidence presented in the indictment lacked credibility and accuracy. However, Şansal is still in pre-trial detention in Silivri Prison and faced harassment due to his sexual identity during the initial days of his imprisonment, according to his own account.

Şansal said the harassment stopped after he notified the press about the incidents. The jailed fashion designer says he is not able to receive letters or read books and remains in solidary confinement.

The fashion designer was detained upon his return from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) after he was deported by Lefkoşa authorities over reactions to a video he filmed.

His recent messages were shared with public by Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Zeynep Altıok Akatlı.

Akatlı said Şansal told her that a call by the office of the president in Turkey was placed to the KKTC government for his deportation.


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