Turkish court lifts academic’s obligation to pay visit to killed police’s family
An Istanbul court has canceled a previous order obligating academic Gülsün Güvenli to pay a visit of condolence to the family of a police officer killed in a PKK attack in 2015.
Istanbul’s 37th Heavy Penal Court revoked its verdict following Güvenli’s appeal and the application of a prosecutor with the court that the relevant ruling be reversed.
Apart from obligating Güvenli to pay a visit of condolence to the killed police officer’s family, the court had also sentenced the academic to over a year in jail on charges of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization,” but deferred the announcement of the verdict.
Güvenli was one of the academics who signed a petition in 2016 calling for peace in the country’s southeast following clashes that erupted after the collapse of a peace process between Turkey and the PKK in the summer of 2015.
Meanwhile, another Istanbul court issued jail sentences from one year and 10 months to two years and three months for 28 academics who also signed the peace petition.
Istanbul’s 33rd Criminal Court on Feb. 21 sentenced 13 academics to two years and three months in jail for “making terrorist propaganda.” The court ordered a year and 10 months in prison for another 15 academics.
For those who received jail time under one year, the court deferred the announcement of the verdict.
“We only requested peace. Wanting peace is not a crime anywhere else [in the world],” a professor on trial said.
“I demanded peace, a universal right in accordance with the law. There is no crime here. I think that the deferment of the announcement of verdict restricts the right of defense,” said another academic.
Turkish prosecutors accused 146 of the signatories of the peace petition of making propaganda for the illegal PKK, with many having lost their jobs at universities. They deny the charges.
The trial of the academics began on Dec. 5, 2016. Many of the trials are still ongoing.
The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey.