Dec 09 2017

Released German rights defender speaks of time in Turkish prison

Documentary filmmaker and human rights activist Peter Steudtner, who spent four months in a Turkish prison on terror charges, has spoken to Deutsche Welle about his experiences.

“Coming into a prison was for me like coming into a new country,” he said. “There are strict frames for things. Solitary confinement is probably the strictest one I had for several days.”

Steudtner was arrested in July with 12 other attendees at a human rights workshop on the island of Büyükada. Turkish prosecutors had sought to link the workshop to a peaceful march lead by the leader of the opposition Republican People’s Party, claiming that it had ulterior motives.

He said that the solidarity he received and the stress management exercises he carried out had helped him get through the experience.

“For me it was very important to feel the solidarity from the outside, as well as from the fellow prisoners.”

At the moment, he is trying to psychologically recover and get back into family routines, Steudtner said.

“I am very much travel restricted, because we do not know whether the Turkish authorities would file red notices or not,” he said. “We have seen it with other people.”

Whilst admitting not being an expert on the Turkish political situation, Steudtner also sent his solidarity to all those still in prison.

“For a lot of the political detainees, the (judicial) situation is rather unfair. The trials are postponed. There are sometimes not even indictments up until now,” he said.