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After the Public Prosecutor objected to the ruling of Eskişehir 1st Judgeship of Execution, which previously accepted the request of Academic for Peace Prof. Dr. Füsun Üstel for transfer to an open penal institution, the Eskişehir 1st Heavy Penal Court has reversed the verdict.
In its detailed ruling dated May 21, Eskişehir 1st Judgeship of Execution accepted Üstel's request for transfer to an open prison by referring to a verdict by Supreme Court of Appeals, which ruled, "The ones convicted of terror propaganda cannot be deemed a terrorist organization member."
Examining the objection of Public Prosecutor Hüseyin Özdemir, the Eskişehir 1st Heavy Penal Court has reversed the ruling of the Judgeship of Execution, which means that Üstel cannot be transferred from the Eskişehir Type H Closed Prison to a open penal institution.
In its detailed ruling, Eskişehir 1st Judgeship of Execution referred to a verdict given by the 1st Penal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals dated April 29. In this verdict, the Supreme Court concluded that the ones convicted of propagandizing for a terrorist organization cannot be considered a member of a terrorist organization.
Reversing the judgement of the Judgeship of Execution, the Eskişehir 1st Heavy Penal Court has stated, "Considering that the offense of propagandizing for a terrorist organization is governed by the Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK), it shall be considered a terror crime."
Accordingly, Prof. Dr. Füsun Üstel, who is currently held in Eskişehir Type H Closed Prison, will not be transferred to an open penal institution.
As per the Article 6/1 of the By-Law on Transfer to Open Penal Institutions, Üstel shall request her transfer to an open penal institution after serving almost three and a half months in the closed prison.
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 8, 2019, 610 academics signatory to the peace declaration have stood trial since December 5, 2017, when the trials of academics started, and 191 of these academics have been sentenced to prison.
The prison sentences of 34 of 191 academics have not been suspended: While the prison sentences of 28 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.
About Zübeyde Füsun Üstel
Prof. Dr. Zübeyde Füsun Üstel 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 İstanbul University, Faculty of Economics.
She completed her PhD at the Faculty of Political Sciences of Ankara University in 1987. Becoming a lecturer at Galatasaray University, Üstel has published a series of articles in Turkey-based and international journals of social sciences. Her articles have mostly focused on the history of Turkey, nationalism and issues of identity.