On July 22, 2019, Professor Füsun Üstel from Galatasaray University has been released from Eskisehir Women’s Prison, where she was serving a 15-month sentence since May 8, 2019, for signing a petition calling for a peaceful resolution to the decades-long conflict between the Turkish state and Kurdish rebels.
After her release, Üstel’s attorney Sennur Baybuğa said that in May, on the 10th day of her imprisonment, due to her age and heavy prison conditions, a ruling was made to transfer Üstel to a low security prison but it was returned by an objection from the prosecutor. Baybuğa stated:
"What has been lived through was a total violation of rights. The process was exhausting for all of us because of the problems regarding the execution of the verdict. For now, I can say that the sentence has been suspended. We are very happy."
Following the approval of their prison sentences by several appeal courts in Istanbul, Üstel and 9 other Peace Academics had filed individual applications to the Constitutional Court for the revision of their sentences on the grounds of constitutional regulation of rights and freedoms. On July 26, 2019, the Constitutional Court will have a session to review the applications of 10 academics for peace, including Üstel.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide is happy to share the release of Professor Üstel, but remain deeply concerned about other academics, who are still imprisoned in Turkey due to the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of speech and association, the conduct of which are expressly protected under international agreements including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Turkey is a party. We condemn the Turkish government’s actions, which irreversibly harm the entire educational community by undermining universities’ abilities to meet scientific and ethical standards as well as to fulfill intellectual, educational, social, and institutional responsibilities.