Turkish court illegally sentences prisoner of war and member of Women’s Protection Units Çiçek Kobanê to life imprisonment

URHOY (URFA), Turkey — In a flagrant violation of international laws and conventions, a Turkish court on Monday sentenced prisoner of war and member of Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) Dozgin Temo, nom de guerre Çiçek Kobanê, to life imprisonment.

Çiçek Kobanê had been taken prisoner by members of the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) during the invasion of North and East Syria in October 2019.

The transportation of Kobanê, a Syrian and taken prisoner by an opposing Syrian force while fighting in Syria, to Turkey to stand trial in a Turkish court is a violation of international law. Her attorney made this point during her sentencing, saying that, “This will become clear at the latest when international courts deal with the case. My client is Syrian. Since she was not involved in any action against Turkey, I demand her acquittal.”

According to Human Rights Watch, over 60 prisoners have been illegally transported from Syria into Turkey. “Turkish authorities, as an occupying power, are required to respect people’s rights under the law of occupation in northeastern Syria, including the prohibition on arbitrary detention and on the transfer of people to their territory” said Michael Page, the organization’s deputy Middle East director.

On 23 October 2019, during the Turkish attack on Tel Abyad and Rish Ayno (Ras al-Ayn), Kobanê, injured in the fighting, was taken prisoner by members of Nour al-Din al-Zenki, a Turkish-backed group notorious for human rights violations.

A video circulated by the group showed one of them carrying Kobanê, shouting, “To slaughter … to slaughter.”

Another voice can be heard saying, “Treat her as a captive, she is booty.”

According to Amnesty International, Nour al-Din al-Zenki, along with the 16th Division, the Levant Front, Ahrar al-Sham, and the al-Nusra Front, were involved in abduction and torture of journalists and humanitarian workers in Aleppo in 2014 and 2015.

In 2016, members of al-Zenki beheaded a captured Syrian regime fighter on video and posted it to social media.

During her trial, Kobanê stated that she was shot twice in the leg after her capture.