Court ruled that hunger striker Nuriye Gülmen must remain in prison

Court ruled that hunger striker Nuriye Gülmen must remain in prison

A court in Ankara ruled that hunger striking educator Nuriye Gülmen must remain in prison, rejecting the prosecutor’s request for her release.

The Ankara 19th Criminal Court held the fifth hearing on hunger striking educators Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, with the prosecutor demanding the release of Gülmen on probation. But the court ruled that hunger striking educator Nuriye Gülmen must remain in prison, rejecting the prosecutor’s request for her release based on the fact “there is no risk of escape.”

Gülmen and Özakça have been on hunger strike for over 250 days, in protest at their dismissal from their posts following the July 2016 coup attempt.

They were arrested in May 2017 on terror charges while they were conducting a sit-in protest in Ankara’s central Kızılay neighbourhood.

They continued their hunger strike in Sincan Prison before Gülmen was taken first to Sincan Prison Hospital and then to Ankara’s Numune Hospital.

Özakça was released on probation on Oct. 20, while Gülmen continued to hold in custody in the Numune Hospital’s high-security intensive care unit.

In the fifth hearing of the case, in which they are accused of "being members of a terrorist organisation and conducting activities on the instructions of a terrorist organisation", the prosecutor requested Gülmen’s release on probation, saying she does not present a risk of escaping.

Giving her defence by video link from her hospital room, Gülmen said her right to defence had been violated in the case.

“I have already said my lawyer’s visits are not provided and the condition that I am in affects my health. My right to defend myself has been obstructed. I only ask you to do what the law necessitates; I’m not asking for a favour with my release,” he added.

According to Turkish law, a suspect should be imprisoned during trial only if there is a risk of escape, a risk that they will spoil evidence, or if there is “strong suspicion” that the suspect has committed the accused crime. (DHA)

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