Hunger striker Nuriye Gülmen remains arrested despite prosecutor’s request of release
A court in Ankara on Nov. 27 ruled that hunger striking educator Nuriye Gülmen must remain in prison, rejecting a prosecutor’s request for her release based on the fact “there is no risk of escape.”
The Ankara 19th Criminal Court held the fifth hearing in which hunger striking educators Gülmen and Semih Özakça are being tried on terror charges on Nov. 27, with the court ruling for the continuation of Gülmen’s arrest.
In the court, prosecutor demanded the release of Gülmen on the grounds that there is no risk of her escape or spoliation of evidence. The hearing was adjourned to Dec. 1 2017.
Gülmen and Özakça have been on hunger strike for over 250 days, in protest at their dismissal from their posts following the July 2016 coup attempt.
They were arrested in May 2017 on terror charges while they were conducting a sit-in protest in Ankara’s central Kızılay neighborhood.
They continued their hunger strike in Sincan Prison before Gülmen was taken first to Sincan Prison Hospital and then to Ankara’s Numune Hospital.
Özakça was released on probation on Oct. 20, while Gülmen continued to held in custody in the Numune Hospital’s high security intensive care unit.
In the fifth hearing of the case, in which they are accused of being members of a terrorist organization and conducting activities on the instructions of a terrorist organization, the prosecutor requested Gülmen’s release on probation, saying she does not present a risk of escaping or spoiling the evidence.
Giving her defense by video link from her hospital room, Gülmen said her right to defense had been violated in the case.
“In order to defend myself effectively, I want to be released and I want to give my defense statement in the hearing myself,” she said, giving her defense by video link from her hospital room.
“There was a new development this week: The State of Emergency Procedures Investigation Commission is expected to make a decision. Our application is expected to be one of the first decisions. If I am reinstated to my post I do not want to continue to be subjected to conditions of imprisonment,” Gülmen added.
“I have experienced a process that is like torture. I have been here [at Numune Hospital] for two months,” she said.
According to Turkish law, a suspect should be imprisoned during their trial only if there is a risk of escape, a risk that they will spoil evidence, or if there is “strong suspicion” that the suspect has committed the accused crime.