Reposted from: hevallo
Xezal (not real name) on board a flight arriving at a London airport, was reflecting on her holidays and preparing herself for getting back to work as an architect in London. An attractive, dignified and successful Kurdish woman, Xezal had given a lot of her voluntary time to the Kurdish community in London over the last decade!
She was on the management committee of the Halkevi Turkish and Kurdish Community Centre in Hackney.
A community centre that has been praised by government officials, local MP’s and councilors for giving first class, award winning community service to the Kurdish and Turkish community in London by being one of the first port of calls for refugees arriving from Turkey and Kurdistan.
I have known Xezal for many years and know that she has always challenged herself by setting the very highest of personal targets in terms of any project she has been involved in. Transparency and accountability are her bywords especially as the Kurdish community faces ‘criminalisation’ in their struggle for Kurdish rights in Turkey!
The first Xezal knew of the impending nightmare was when she noticed some rather large men in suits and armed entering the airplane before disembarkation. She thought it odd but could never in a million years of imagined that they had come on board to take her away!
Things started to go into slow motion for her as they arrived at her seat and asked to see her passport. Confused, she gave it to them and they stood her up, handcuffed her and led her to the exit of the plane.
These armed men from the ‘anti terrorist’ branch wanted to question Xezal about matters relating to ‘money laundering’.
What Xezal didn’t know was that at 6am in morning at the house of Zilan, of a friend of hers, the colleagues of these detectives had also arrived with a search warrant, marked with the words again of ‘anti terrorism’ unit and ‘money laundering’. These were the ‘label’s’ the UK government had arrived to serve!
Zilan, (not her real name) another intelligent feminist graduate who works professionally for women’s rights and who has given her time and skills for her own community over a number of years!
Zilan lives with her family who were shocked and afraid when ‘anti terrorist’ police barged into the flat, taking Zilan, her computer, mobile telephone and a number of items that they have not been given a list of.
As Xezal’s nightmare unfolded she was taken, handcuffed, from the plane straight onto the tarmac where a police car was waiting and driven away. She described how she was petrified as these armed men had taken her and she did not even really know who they were!
Eventually, both Zilan and Xezal, who had immediately both contacted one of the countries top human rights firms were released after 14 hours of questioning. Two other management committee members were also treated to similar behaviour and treatment.
Humiliated and incandescent with rage, not that this happened to them, although they were. But that they both very quickly realised that this treatment that they had been subjected to was actually nothing to do with them personally but was designed as a message to the Kurdish community.
Not a message from the UK police but a message conveyed by the UK on behalf of the Turkish Secret Service. And not even so much a message but an action designed to ‘criminalise’ and ‘stigmatise Kurds generally!
Xezal and Zilan’s human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce has described these actions as one of the most blatantly political provocations designed to criminalise the Kurds!
No charges have been brought and none would ever stick but the case has been ‘postponed’ until March, which means that the new opening of Halkevi’s brand new community centre in London will probably be postponed as funders need to be reassured and lawyers need to respond!
I, who have been involved in Kurdish campaigning over the last 18 years to raise awareness of the situation of the Kurds in Turkey am genuinely disturbed by these latest actions of the UK government!
Coming at a time when Denmark are helping the Turkish Secret Services to shut down the Kurdish voice of Roj TV it seems that our government has sunk to a new low by acquiescing further and a new and insidious way by attempting to label and stigmatise upstanding members of the Kurdish community and British citizens by suggesting impropriety where there is none!
And the manner in which these so called ‘investigations’ were carried out were designed for maximum humiliation and shock value intended to refute any question of injustice!
In this particular case I am completely confident that the police will pay a heavy price but in some respect the damage is already done!
The Halkevi will not now open probably now until March and members of the Kurdish community have been duly ‘criminalised’ stamped with the labels provided by Turkish Secret Services.
I call on any journalist or campaigner who is interested in this country not further becoming the extension of repressive regimes around the world and willing and eager to assist in suppressing democratic and peaceful opposition to speak out about these disgraceful detentions!
Please email Hevallo@gmail.com for more info.