Aslı Erdoğan is a renowned Turkish novelist and human rights activist. On August 16, 2016, soldiers in black masks barged into Ms. Erdoğan’s home and incarcerated her on a charge of supporting terrorism. The basis for the criminal case, she was told, was her five years of writing articles and serving on the advisory board of Özgür Gündem, a daily newspaper which the Turkish government alleged was linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party. She was arrested along with more than 20 other journalists and employees of Özgür Gündem, which was shut down by decree as part of the state of emergency in the country following the failed 2016 coup.
Ms. Erdoğan was held in solitary confinement for the next five days—the first two of which she was deprived of water—and then jailed with other female prisoners. After 133 days in prison, Ms. Erdoğan was given her first opportunity to defend herself in court.
Erdoğan was released from the Bakırköy state prison on December 29, 2016, but was barred from travelling outside the country. While the travel ban was lifted on June 22, 2017, her case is still under consideration. She faces a life sentence if convicted.