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Turkish artist thrown in prison for depicting destruction in Kurdish town

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Zehra Doğan, a Turkish painter who has been handed down a prison sentence of two years, nine months, 22 days for depicting the destruction caused by military operations carried out in the Nusaybin district of Mardin province, was sent to Diyarbakır Prison on Monday.

Doğan was reportedly stopped by police on the Diyarbakır-Mardin highway and taken to Diyarbakır Prison because of an outstanding sentence given to her on March 5, 2016.

According to the Cumhuriyet daily, the Mardin 2nd High Criminal Court handed down the sentence to Doğan on charges that she drew Turkish flags on buildings destroyed by Turkish forces. However, Doğan said in her defense that she made the paintings and posted them on social media without any political comments.

“I was given two years and 10 months [jail time] only because I painted Turkish flags on destroyed buildings. However, they [the Turkish government] caused this. I only painted it,” Doğan said in a tweet posted on March 5.

Turkish security forces have been trying to clear southeastern towns and cities of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants since July 2015, when a two-year cease-fire with the group collapsed, shattering a settlement process launched by the government in late 2012 to end Turkey’s long-standing Kurdish problem and triggering the worst violence seen in the region in two decades.

According to a report by Amnesty International in December, an estimated half million people were forced from their homes as a result of a brutal crackdown by Turkish authorities over the past year, which may amount to collective punishment. (Turkey Purge)

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