2012 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee publisher Ragıp Zarakolu spent close to 6 months in a F-type high security prison between 1 Nov. 2011 and 10 April 2012. The prosecutor has demanded between 7.5 and 15 years in prison for Ragıp. This IPA Freedom to Publish Committee blog aims at shedding light on his case and urges the Turkish authorities to drop all charges against him.
Publisher Ragıp Zarakolu was detained in a F-type high security prison in Koaceli, 80 kilometres east of Istanbul, between 1 November 2011 and 10 April 2012. His son Deniz was reunited with him in that prison on 30 December 2011. To date Deniz is still being detained in Koaceli.
Ragıp was in this high security prison among actual terrorists and drug dealers. After his arrest on 28 October last year, he was deprived of the lifeblood of every literary person – books. Even when walking the streets of Oslo, or any other city he visits, Ragıp holds a book. As Min Ko Naing declared after his release from prison in 2004, the hardest was to “not be able to see, study and read”. When Ragıp was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2012 in late January, the authorities gave him permission to visit the prison library and use a computer once a week. In prison, Ragıp, an ethnic Turk, started to learn Kurdish. In his cell, he has had his ups and downs. The printer of the Belge publishing house, Sadik Daşdöğen, is also being held at the Metris prison in Istanbul, the same prison as Büşra Ersanlı who was not among those released on 10 April 2012. Suzan Zengin, Belge’s translator, died in October 2011, soon after her release from prison where she spent over two years.