No intervention in academic Gülmen’s hunger strike: Justice minister
“Gülmen is currently under treatment at Numune Hospital and her hunger strike has not been intervened,” Gül told lawmakers in Ankara.
He said they have allowed the Turkish Medical Association to visit Gülmen, a literature professor, and Semih Özakça, a primary school teacher whom she has been on hunger strike with for over seven months.
“Our doctors are watching the process. International agreements give permission to intervene upon tissue loss or loss of consciousness. At the moment, the conditions are observed at all times. We can all also put some effort into ending the hunger strike,” Gül added.
Özakça and Gülmen began a sit-in protest in Ankara’s central Kızılay neighborhood on Nov. 9 before beginning their hunger strike on March 9 in protest at being dismissed from their jobs with state of emergency decrees. Their demands are to be returned to their jobs. They were arrested on May 23 and have been continuing their hunger strike in jail.
Gülmen and Özakça had been held at the infirmary of Sincan Prison, where they were taken to on July 31.
The Ankara 19th High Criminal Court is continuing the case against Özakça and Gülmen, in which they are accused of “being a member of an armed terrorist organization,” “violating the law on demonstrations and meetings,” and “making propaganda for a terrorist organization,” facing sentences of up to 20 years in jail.
But Gülmen, who was taken to the Ankara Numune Hospital on Sept. 25, was not brought to her hearing on Sept. 14, with the court’s board citing a hospital report indicating that her condition was not suitable for her to attend.
On Sept. 25, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Şenal Saruhan said the hospital had indicated that Gülmen’s “water intake has deteriorated and she is having troubles sleeping and smelling. But she is conscious and lucid despite the serious deterioration of her health.”
In his defense, Özakça said authorities took Gülmen to hospital in order to prevent her from attending the hearing.
“They took Nuriye to [hospital] in order to avoid bringing her to the hearing. But forced intervention is a crime against humanity,” he added.