Germany-based International League for Human Rights has announced that Carl von Ossietzky Medal of 2018 will be awarded to the discharged Co-Mayor of Cizre, Leyla İmret, and human rights defender, Ottmar Miles Paul.
The organization has been awarding the annual Carl von Ossietzky Medal since 1962 in honor of Carl von Ossietzky, a journalist and writer from Germany, to people who have contributed to "realizing, defending and further development of human rights and peace."
Publishing a statement on its website on November 6, the International League for Human Rights has announced the prize of Leyla İmret as follows:
"Leyla İmret was elected as the Co-Mayor of Cizre (in Turkey's southeastern province of Şırnak) in 2014. While she was in office, she worked with all her strength for the reconstruction, equal rights and humane conditions in Cizre, which was suffering from the consequences of the war.
"After the parliamentary elections in 2015 and the resurgence of the Turkish-Kurdish conflict, the government of Turkey declared curfews in several districts and provinces in the region, including Cizre.
"A lawsuit was filed against Leyla İmret on charges of 'inciting the public to an armed uprising against the state' and 'propagandizing for a terrorist organization'. After she was discharged from her post by the Ministry of Interior, against which she took legal action, and was arrested for multiple times, she was forced to flee back to Germany.
"In 2018, she testified as a witness at the International Tribunal of Peoples in Paris on human rights violations and war crimes committed in Cizre. From exile, she continues to fight for her return to the mayor's office, where she was democratically elected, and continues to promote human rights in Turkey as well as a peaceful and just solution to the Kurdish question."
Carl von Ossietzky Medal will be awarded to Leyla İmret and Ottmar Miles Paul in a ceremony to be held in the capital city of Berlin on December 26.
The medal was previously awarded to SOS-Mediterranee project and photographer Kai Wiedenhöfer in 2016 and to Edward Snowden, film director Laura Poitras and journalist Glenn Greenwald in 2014.
Leyla İmret was born in 1987 in Cizre in Turkey's southeastern province of Şırnak. Her father lost his life when she was four years old. She first fled to Mersin with her family and after living there for four years, she went to Bremen in Germany to stay with her relatives in 1996. She studied pedagogy in Germany. After finishing her studies, she returned to Turkey in 2013.
İmret was elected as the Co-Mayor of Cizre from Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in 2014 by receiving the 83 percent of the votes. She was both the first woman mayor of Cizre and one of the youngest mayors of Turkey. After she was discharged from her post on September 12, 2015, she has returned to Germany. (EMK/SD)