Hunger striker educators in Turkey allowed to have companions in hospital

Lawyer for hunger striker Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça have said the jailed educators, who are on the 160th day of a hunger strike, are given the permission to have companions in the prison hospital, Bianet reported on Tuesday.

The mother of Özakça and the sister of Gülmen are going to hospital on Tuesday, said lawyer Ebru Timtik. After Turkish Ministry of Justice approved the request for having companions on Aug. 10, prison prosecutor confirmed the permission on Aug. 14.

After their application to European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), Gülmen and Özakça were treated in Ankara Numune Hospital on July 25 upon the request of the court. The report issued by the hospital on July 28 after the treatment said they would not be able to survive alone but it did not necessitate their release from the prison.

ECtHR, which rejected a request by Gülmen and Özakça to order the Turkish government to release them on grounds of health, requested from the Turkish government to provide companions for Gülmen and Özakça to help them with their daily needs.

The court ruled that the detention of Gülmen and Özakça “did not pose a real and imminent risk of irreparable harm to the life or limb of the applicants” and suggested applying to domestic courts.

The teachers, who were taken to prison hospital, have been kept there alone for 24 days and their meetings with lawyers have been limited.

“During the lawyer meetings they placed a table between us. We could not even help them stand. Until now they were kept being forced to survive alone” said Timtik.

Drawing attention to the significance of hygiene for teachers due to risk of infection, Timtik argued the government did not care about the health of the teachers, who slept on the floor using blankets which were used by hundreds of people in prison wards.

The educators, who were on the 76th day of a hunger strike to protest their dismissal when they were arrested on terror charges on May 23 in Ankara, were taken to the prison hospital against their will.

The educators said their strike aims to draw attention to the situation of more than 150,000 dismissed state employees. The Turkish government started a crackdown on opposition in the wake of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and arrested more than 50,000, dismissing or suspending around 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants. (

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