Prof. Füsun Üstel Released
Prof. Dr. Füsun Üstel, a signatory of the Peace Declaration, has been released from the Eskişehir Women’s Closed Prison where she had been behind bars since she turned herself in on May 8 to serve the prison term approved by the İstanbul Regional Court of Justice 3rd Penal Chamber.
Sennur Baybuğa, the attorney of Üstel, said that a ruling was made for Üstel to be transferred to an open prison on the 10th day of her imprisonment but that was prevented first by an objection from the prosecutor, and then by court verdicts.
“What has been lived through was totally a violation of rights. The process was exhausting for all for all of us because of the problems regarding the execution regime. Right now, I can say that the execution [of the sentence] has been suspended. We are very happy,” Baybuğa said.
The Constitutional Court will examine the applications of 10 academics for peace, including Üstel, on July 26.
On April 4, 2018, Prof. Dr. Zübeyde Füsun Üstel from Galatasaray University was sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison on charge of “propagandizing for a terrorist organization” as per the Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) for having signed the peace declaration.
The penalty of Prof. Dr. Üstel was not deferred by the İstanbul 32nd Heavy Penal Court on the ground that she did not demand the deferment of announcement of the verdict and did not make “a statement of penitence.”
The 3rd Panel Chamber of the İstanbul Regional Court of Justice, the court of appeal, upheld the prison sentence of Prof. Dr. Füsun Üstel in a verdict dated February 25, 2019. Though her attorneys objected to the verdict of the court of appeal, her prison sentence has still been executed. Accordingly, Üstel has been behind bars since May 8, 2019.
As of May 31, 2019, 610 academics signatory to the peace declaration have stood trial since December 5, 2017, when the trials of academics started, and 195 of these academics have been sentenced to prison.
The prison sentences of 35 of 195 academics have not been suspended: While the prison sentences of 29 academics were not deferred as their prison terms are over two years (as per the Article 286 of the Law on Penal Courts), 6 academics, including Füsun Üstel, did not accept the deferment of the announcement of their verdicts.