Zehra Doğan is a Kurdish journalist and painter born in 1989 in Diyarbakir, Turkey. She is known as an editor, since 2010, by Jinha, a Kurdish and feminist news agency composed of women only. Since February 2016, Doğan has been living and documenting the reality of Nusaybin, a town on the Syrian border under continuous clashes between Erdoğan’s army and the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. But perhaps, we should talk using past form verb: on 21 June, while she was in a café, she was arrested. And she is still in prison.
The story is controversial: Zehra was arrested on charges of being a member of illegal and anti-system organisation, with anonymous witnesses, with a questionable reliability, who testified against her. In addition, during the trial, the prosecution has shown drawings and postings appeared on Zehra’s social networks, criticizing the work of the Turkish army.
On March 2 in 2017, the journalist was acquitted of the charge of participating in an illegal organization, but was sentenced to 2 years, 9 months and 22 days of imprisonment for the publication of drawings on social media. The image in the center of the case is a painting taken on an official photo of the Turkish army in the destroyed city of Nusaybin with the Turkish flags around. The artist has replaced the army tanks in the rubble with animal figures with sharp, bleeding teeth while soldiers are leaving their jaws.
Banksy, on March 15, painted a new mural, on the corner of Houston Street and Bowery in Manhattan, New York. Twenty meters long and realized with with the artist Borf, the street artist with an unknown identity has dedicated his last work to Zehra Doğan. Among the lines drawn that refer to the classic system that the prisoners use to count the days of imprisonment, the face of the journalist appears behind bars. But one of the bars she holds, in reality it’s the pencil, the symbol of her art and her “guilt”.
On his Instagram profile he posted the photo with the hashtag #FREEzehradogan, while interviewed by the New York Times, he said: «I am very sorry for her. I drawed things that would have deserved much more than a condemnation».