Anya, a Kurdish lawyer, human rights activist, and single mother from Turkey, has been subjected to ethnic persecution for as long as she can remember. At the age of 14, she became involved with a political party that promoted cultural and political rights of all Kurds. It was that same year that she got arrested and abused by the Turkish Police. She was kept in solitary confinement, physically and psychologically tortured. Nine months later she was released, but still faced charges. Advised by her solicitor not to turn up for her sentencing, she was convicted in absentia and given an 8 years jail sentence. Anya lived and worked in Istanbul for 5 years under an assumed identity to evade the authorities. She was smuggled out of Turkey in 1999 in a lorry, and eventually ended up in the UK in 2001, where she was granted a refugee status.

PoC awarded an academic bursary grant to enable her to re-qualify in the UK. In a letter to us, she said: “A huge thank you and everyone in Prisoners of Conscience for funding my LLM (Master of Laws). I have completed my course and obtained MERIT. The course has a big impact on my future career, but more importantly, it has widened my understanding of economics and finance. Now I am volunteering at the law centre and had a six-month placement at one of the big corporate commercial global law firms. Soon I will be fundraising for the law centre to provide legal help specifically for refugees. I wish you all the best and hope to see a world without war!”