Prof. Dr. Fusun Astel Acquitted

Prof. Astel, who served two-and-a-half months in prison for having signed the Peace Declaration, has been acquitted of the charge of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization."

Prof. Dr. Fusun Astel, who served two-and-a-half months in prison for having signed the declaration by the Academics for Peace titled, "We will not be a party to this crime," has been acquitted.

The Constitutional Court ruled in July that the penalization of Academics for Peace on the charge of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" violated their freedom of expression.

After the ruling, Astel's attorneys Sennur Baybuga and Fikret Ilkiz made an application to the 32nd Heavy Penal Court, which sentenced Astel to prison for "propagandizing for a terrorist organization."

The court acquitted of Astel and ruled that all provisions and results of the verdict of prison sentence shall be removed.

What happened?

On April 4, 2018, Prof. Dr. Zubeyde Fusun Astel from Galatasaray University was sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison on the charge of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" as per Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) for having signed the peace declaration.

The penalty of Prof. Dr. Astel was not deferred by the Istanbul 32nd Heavy Penal Court on the ground that she did not demand the deferment of the announcement of the verdict and did not make "a statement of penitence."

The 3rd Panel Chamber of Istanbul Regional Court of Justice, the court of appeal, upheld the prison sentence of Prof. Dr. Fusun Astel in a verdict dated February 25, 2019. Though her attorneys objected to the verdict of the court of appeal, her prison sentence was still executed. Accordingly, Fusun Astel was imprisoned in Eskisehir on May 8, 2019.

Since December 5, 2017, when the trials of academics started, 204 Academics for Peace have been sentenced to prison.

The prison sentences of 36 of 204 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 Fusun Astel, did not accept the deferment of the announcement of their verdicts.

Verdicts of acquittal at 26 courts

The Constitutional Court on July 26 ruled that the penalization of Academics for Peace on the charge of "terror propaganda" has violated their freedom of expression.

After the Constitutional Court ruled that the freedom of expression of Academics for Peace has been violated, joint and separate verdicts of acquittal have been given for academics at 26 courts in total.

About Zubeyde Fusun Astel

Prof. Dr. Zubeyde Fusun Astel is an academic at Galatasaray University. She completed her undergraduate studies at Ankara University, Faculty of Political Sciences. She received her Master's degree from the University of Johns Hopkins in Italy in 1980-1981 and started working as a research assistant at Istanbul University, Faculty of Economics.

Source: English Bianet