İlhan Sami Çomak has been behind bars for 27 years
Help us to free the Poet!
‘Life, separated from the sun
There’s no direction here
But there is a way out
Always, a way out.’
Ilhan Çomak is Turkey’s longest-serving student prisoner. Arrested aged 22 in 1994, he’s now been behind bars for 27 years. PEN Norway is leading a campaign to call for his immediate release and to share his poetry widely by publishing an anthology of poems written for him and a selection of his own works in English.
Ilhan has written and published 8 books of poetry from solitary confinement. His only company is a small pet bird. His trial lasted 22 years and he was given a life sentence for a crime he denies. Having signed a confession after 19 days of torture, Ilhan was convicted of lighting a forest fire in the name of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, and was sentenced to death for the crime of ‘separatism’. His sentence was commuted to life. Ilhan has 3.5 years remaining on his sentence. He has always maintained his innocence.
Read his poems here in English. Read poems written for him by poets in Europe and the United States. Read poems written with him from solitary confinement in Silivri Prison, outside Istanbul where he is one of 23,000 prisoners in Turkey’s highest security facility. Help us with our call to Free the Poet!