Court rejects release demand of jailed hunger striking Turkish educators
Mesut Hasan Benli – ANKARAAn Ankara court rejected the release demand of jailed Turkish educators who have been on hunger strikes for 108 days.
Teacher Semih Özakça and academic Nuriye Gülmen started their hunger strike demanding that they be returned to their positions, after they were removed with a state of emergency decree law.
Gülmen, an academic, and Özakça, a primary school teacher, were arrested on terror charges late on May 23, the 75th day of their hunger strike.
Erinç Sağkan, Özgür Ökmen and Çağrı Ayhan Şenel, the deputy head and board members of the Ankara Bar, visited Özakça and Güşlmen in Sincan Prison.
Following the visit they released a statement saying that the physical conditions of the jailed educators were deteriorating alarmingly.
Özakça had difficulty walking and arrived in a wheelchair, while he also had difficulty talking, according to the statement. Gülmen, meanwhile, could not even move from her bed for the interview.
Özakça’s wife Esra Özakça, who has herself also been on a hunger strike for over 30 days, spoke about the educators’ condition on June 16 after a visit to the prison.
“As for Nuriye, she has serious problems in her muscles. She is having a hard time even extending her hand and getting herself up on her feet. She is moving around in a wheelchair and her health situation is critical,” she said.