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Turkish Court Obliges Peace Academic to Visit a Martyr's Family

Updated: Apr 2, 2019

The trials of Academics for Peace continues in Istanbul Heavy Penal Courts. As of February 20, 2019, 479 of 2,212 peace academics have stood trial and 102 of them have been sentenced to 15 months to three years in prison with or without deferral.

Since February 12, court hearings for twenty peace academics have been held. The announcement of verdict has been postponed for twelve academics, while the others have received prison sentences, all with deferral. All signatories are sentenced under Article 7/2 of the AntiTerror Act for carrying out terrorist propaganda. Hanifi Baris, an academic and human rights lawyer who was previously arrested for two months due to his social media posts, has been sentenced to 20 months in prison, and Hatice Kurtulus Aydal, professor of political science and public administration at Istanbul University, to 18 months. Assistant professor of philosophy Mehmet Siray, emeritus professors Tahsin Yesildere and Bulent Tanju, and professor of communication studies Gulsun Guvenli from Galatasaray University have been sentenced to 15 months in prison. Professor Guvenli has received an unprecedented ruling in addition to 15 months in prison, which forces her to pay regular visits to a martyr's (one who was killed during a PKK attack) family. After the declaration of the verdict, Guvenli said "I'd be honored. I am against all deaths. I signed the Peace letter for that purpose."

ESW expresses solidarity with the thousands of Turkish academics who have lost their jobs and are facing criminal charges as a result of their peaceful activities and the exercise of their freedom of speech. We are deeply distressed by 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 fulfill intellectual, educational, social, and institutional responsibilities.


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