PEN Germany slams renewed charges against Turkish novelist Aslı Erdoğan

PEN Germany has slammed renewed charges against award winning Turkish novelist Aslı Erdoğan after the prosecutor asked for the case to be reopened despite her acquittal in mid-February.

A court in Istanbul acquitted Erdoğan, who is also a scholar of PEN Germany's Writers in Exile programme, of the charges of membership of a terrorist organisation and undermining national unity for her work with Özgür Gündem, a pro-Kurdish newspaper that the Turkish government shuttered in 2016.

Although the official deadline for appealing against a court order is one week, the prosecutor is demanding that the case be reopened after four months. In case of a guilty verdict, Erdoğan faces up to nine years in prison.

"The Turkish judicial system has been degraded to the extended arm of a despot who clings to power by all means and mercilessly fights political opponents. The Turkish justice system has long since lost all credibility. The trial against Aslı Erdoğan must not be resumed," said Ralf Nestmeyer, Vice President and Writers-in-Prison representative of PEN.

After her arrest in August 2016, Erdoğan spent 136 days in pre-trial detention for comments she made in a column she wrote for Özgür Gündem newspaper. She now lives in Germany.