Banksy protests Turkish artist's incarceration in new mural
Elusive British street artist Banksy has returned to New York to protest the incarceration of a Turkish artist who was imprisoned last year over a painting.
Zehra Dogan is an artist and journalist who had covered the wars in Iraq and Syria and was one of the first reporters to talk to Yazidi women freed from the clutches of ISIS, according to her official website.
Last July, Dogan was handed a jail term of two years, nine months and 22 days for producing "terror organization propaganda" after she painted a scene of Nusaybin, a Turkish town that had been under curfew because of fighting between the military and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), according to CNN Turk.
The PKK is considered a terror group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
Banksy's latest piece in downtown Manhattan is a massive mural of black tally marks which resemble jail bars through which Dogan's face can be seen. In the bottom right corner is a call for action: "Free Zehra Dogan."
Dogan's painting is projected above the mural.
Shortly after she was initially detained in July 2016, the International Federation of Journalists urged the Turkish government to release Dogan -- as well as 90 other journalists presently behind bars.
Since her incarceration, several international freedom of expression organizations -- including The Voice Project and Pen International -- have called for her release.
"They gave me a prison penalty for taking the photo of destroyed houses and putting Turkish flags on them. But it wasn't me who did it, it was them. I just painted it," Dogan is quoted as saying on her personal website.
Shortly after the mural was unveiled, the anonymous guerrilla artist uploaded several Instagram posts on his official account -- which he traditionally uses to confirm his works.
"One year ago Zehra Dogan was jailed for painting this watercolour of a photograph she saw in the newspaper. Protest against this injustice by re-gramming her painting and tagging Turkey's President Erdogan @rterdogan," Banksy posted.
Earlier this week, Banksy also stenciled a rat on the clock of a disused bank building on 14th Street in New York.