Turkey: Man imprisoned at 18 returns home 30 years later

Turkey: Man imprisoned at 18 returns home 30 years later
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Remzi Topdemir, arrested when he was 18 years old and subsequently convicted of "offenses against the state," returned home after being incarcerated for over 30 years.

A Kurdish man who was arrested when he was eighteen and convicted to life imprisonment by a state security court in Turkey for "offenses against the integrity of the state" was released on Friday, Mezopotamya News Agency (MA) reported.

Remzi Topdemir, now forty-eight, was arrested in 1993 in the village of Pinaroglu (Kurdish name Mezirke) in Turkey's southeastern province of Diyarbakir. The court sentenced him to life in prison and he had to spend the following 30 years and three months of his life behind bars.

The three months of the prison term was because he had chanted a slogan at the courthouse, MA said.

State security courts were established in Turkey after the military coup in 1980 and were abolished in June 2004 in the context of judicial reforms.

Topdemir was met at his release with applause, zilgit (exclamation of rage or suffering) and flowers by a group including his family, village folks and representatives of human rights and solidarity groups, who gathered outside the prison house in Diyarbakir. White doves symbolizing peace were released by the group.

He returned to his home in Mezirke in a convoy of cars.