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Musician detained; band members pledge to hold solidarity concerts

(BIANET/IFEX) - 13 February 2012 - Seckin Aydogan, a member of the band Grup Yorum ("Group Comment"), has been in detention for six weeks. He was taken into custody on 13 December 2011 during a police raid on the Rights Association in Nurtepe, and formally arrested three days later. He is being held at the Tekirdag No. 1 F Type Prison and is scheduled to appear at his first hearing at the Caglayan (Istanbul) courthouse on 2 April.

The group was founded in 1985. Its members have been exposed to near-constant arrests, imprisonment and bans. The band is known for its politically charged lyrics. The Galatasary square was crowded with fans who sang along with their favourite tunes and performed the halay folk dance.

In a press release, the band announced, "Yet one additional new illegal pressure was imposed on Grup Yorum and their listeners. University students were arrested in Samsun because they organized a Grup Yorum concert. They were handed down prison sentences of up to 13 years. After that, Education and Science Workers' Union (Egitim-Sen) member Berivan Dogan was sentenced to ten months in jail on charges of 'propaganda for a criminal organization' because lyrics of a Grup Yorum song were found on her computer".

"On 10 May 2011, Tavir magazine owner Bahar Kurt was taken into custody in the course of a raid on the Idil Culture Centre. In the indictment, the album 'Cemo' was alleged of "public incitement to committing crimes within the activities of a terrorist organization" and Grup Yorum members were charged with "the attempt to acquire members for an illegal organization".

"Minster of the Interior Idris Naim Sahin announced that 'terrorism was being supported' with concerts, poems and pictures. Nowadays, having opposing ideas to the policies of the power and their applications is enough to be arrested or taken into custody", it was said in the press release.

According to the indictment prepared by Prosecutor Huseyin Kaplan, Aydogan attended a rally at Taksim square (Istanbul) calling for the release of the employees of "Yuruyus" magazine. He is also alleged of "having chanted slogans". Thus, he is being tried on charges of "opposing Law No.2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations", "propaganda for an illegal organization" according to Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) and "membership of an illegal organization" as ordered in Article 314 of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK).

The band is going to perform for the duration of two months in solidarity with Aydogan. Performances will be held every Sunday at 6:00 pm in front of their banner featuring "Freedom for Seckin Aydogan" at the Galatasaray square in central Istanbul until 2 April. The first concert was held on 5 February. Grup Yorum invited all their fans and everybody who would like to support them to the hearing before the 15th High Criminal Court at the Caglayan Courthouse on 2 April.

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