Turkish actress jailed for role in play supporting conscientious objector

A Turkish actress has been sent to prison for five months for “alienating the public from military service” after acting in a theatre adaptation of Russian author Nikolai Gogol’s short story “The Overcoat,” Turkish news site T24 reported on Thursday.

Nazlı Masatçı appeared in the performance, organised in support of conscientious objector İnan Süver, at Izmir’s Yenikapı Theatre in 2010.

Süver deserted his military service in 2002 after serving for 13 months. He had reportedly not heard of the principle of conscientious objection when he was carrying out his military service, but sent a letter to the army in 2009 declaring himself a conscientious objector.

Masatçı and five other actors who appeared in the play each received five-month prison sentences in 2012. Masatçı’s sentence was confirmed on appeal on January 30, and she has been transported to a women’s prison in Izmir to carry out her sentence.

The Yenikapı Theatre was closed by decree in December 2016 during a state of emergency implemented after the coup attempt in July that year.