Baran is a Prisoners of Conscience beneficiary. We recently held an online interview with him to learn more about his experiences. He told us about how he was thrown in jail for helping defend the rights of Kurdish people.

“From the beginning of the foundation of Turkey, the Kurds as a people haven’t been recognized by the government, by the Turkish state, and have been subjected to assimilation and Turkification policies during the whole of their history. The Kurds have no basic human rights about their cultural existence and their existence as a people. Their language was banned, they don’t have any education, they can’t have any education in their own language.”

“I was a human rights lawyer, I was defending my clients – politicians, ordinary people, people who were chanting in demonstrations, civil and peaceful demonstrations. Because of all these things I was accused of being a member of a terrorist organization, like so many people.”

“I spent almost two years in jail, and after I was released on bail, they sentenced me to eight years and nine months in prison. I appealed first to the high court, but the high court refused my application. So, I had two choices: either I leave the country, or I was going to jail.”

You can find out what happened to Baran in the full interview with Victoria Brittain, vice-chair of Prisoners of Conscience and former associate foreign editor at the Guardian, on YouTube here.

Read the full transcript here.