Five protesters asking for reinstatement to job in Turkey punished by court with house arrest

Five protesters who are demanding reinstatement to their jobs by protesting on a street in Ankara have been sentenced to house arrest in Turkey, the Diken news website reported on Wednesday.

Esra Özakça, Acun Karadağ, Nazife Onay, Nazan Bozkurt and Erdoğan Canpolat, who wanted to show their support for dismissed educators Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, who have been on hunger strike for 126 days, and also ask for reinstatement to their own jobs by protesting on the street were sentenced to house arrest by a court.

The protesters were previously detained on July 5 and referred to court by a prosecutor with a demand of “house arrest.” However, they were released on judicial probation. Upon the objection of the prosecutor’s office the court approved the “house arrest” demand. The lawyers of protester Murat Yılmaz said they would object to the decision.

“This decision aims to prevent protests on Yüksel Street. With this decision Esra Özakça, who is on a hunger strike, will not be able to visit her husband Semih Özakça in jail. We will object to this decision,” said Yılmaz. Esra Özakça has also been on a hunger strike for 51 days.

Meanwhile, Engin Gökoğlu, one of the lawyers representing Gülmen and Özakça, has told Bianet after visiting them on Wednesday that, “Their spirit is high but their health condition is bad. They cannot walk anymore. Nuriye came to the visit on a wheelchair, she has problems with their stomachs and kidneys and some bruises on her leg. ”

“Nuriye told me that the female guardians came to her cell every night and woke her up. When she asked them why they did that, she told me that they said, ‘We came to check on you whether you are dead or alive.’ They reportedly visit Semih in his cell at around 11 pm at nights and observe him from a distance without touching him.
It is inhumane that they have been doing this instead of taking a step to solve the problem. They probably think that they can get rid of their responsibility by doing so. But they don’t care about the health of Nuriye and Semih.

Noting that their request for release of Gülmen and Özakça was rejected by Ankara 19th High Criminal Court, Gökoğlu said that “The court denied our request on June 30. This decison was given us on Tuesday. The court says that the prison was proper for them in terms of their medical conditions. Whereas, they are both on the edge of death, their demands must be accepted immediately. Reinstating them back to their jobs is not a demand hard to meet. The resistance which is already heard by the whole world should also be heard by the government”.

Gülmen and Semih Özakça, who were arrested on the 75th day of a hunger strike which they started to protest their dismissal by a government decree, have been on a hunger strike for 126 days.

Under emergency rule which was declared on July 21 immediately after a failed coup on July 15, the government has pressed ahead with many controversial decrees that have the force of the law and are not required to be approved by Parliament. In line with these decrees, thousands of people have been purged on coup charges. (SCF with July 12, 2017


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