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Akademisyen ve insan hakları savunucusu İştar Gözaydın beraat etti

Status: 
Acquitted
About the Situation

On 31 January 2018, Prof. İştar Gözaydın was acquitted by Istanbul’s 27th High Criminal Court.

On 20 December 2016, police officers arrested Ms. İştar Gözaydın at her house in Istanbul.

On 27 December, İştar Gözaydın was formally arrested and sent to jail, charged with membership of an armed terrorist organisation.

On 30 March 2017, Iştar Gözaydın was released from the Sakran district prison in Izmir. Prior to that, on 9 March 2017, the Izmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office submitted an indictment to the Izmir Criminal Court accusing the human rights defender of alleged membership in the Fethullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO). That court ruled that it did not have jurisdiction on 10 March, and transferred the case to the Istanbul courts.  It is expected that the next hearing upon her case will be held in September 2017.

About Iştar Gözaydın

istar_gozaydin.jpgIştar Gözaydın is one of the founders and a former executive member of the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly (now known as Citizenship Association), a human rights organisation that promotes fundamental rights and freedoms, the rule of law, peace, democracy and pluralism. She was previously the Head of the Department of Sociology of the Faculty of Arts and Science at Gediz University where she was also a professor of administrative law and politics. Her academic work includes research on the relation between the state and religion, religious discrimination and issues of democratisation. 

6 February 2018
Professor İştar Gözaydın acquitted by Istanbul’s 27th High Criminal Court

On 31 January 2018, Prof. İştar Gözaydın was acquitted by Istanbul’s 27th High Criminal Court.

On 20 December 2016, police officers detained Prof. Gözaydın at her home in Istanbul in connection with an investigation initiated by the Terror and Organized Crime Bureau Prosecutor of Izmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office against the staff of Gediz University. The university was shut down by governmental decree law no. 667 for its alleged links to the “Gülen movement,” which the Turkish authorities maintain was behind the 2016 attempted coup and is designated as a terrorist organisation.

İştar Gözaydın is a founder and executive member of the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly, a human rights organisation that promotes fundamental rights and freedoms, the rule of law, peace, democracy and pluralism. She was previously a professor of administrative law and politics and  Head of the Department of Sociology of the Faculty of Arts and Science at Gediz University. Her academic work includes research on freedom of religion and issues of democratisation.

On 27 December 2016, Prof. İştar Gözaydın was formally charged with “being a member of an armed terrorist organization”. It was stated in the indictment that Prof. Gözaydın worked at Gediz University and Samanyolu TV, which are allegedly affiliated with the “Gülen Movement”.

On 30 March 2017, Prof. İştar Gözaydın was released under travel ban by İstanbul’s 27th High Criminal Court after her lawyer appealed the arrest.

On 31 January 2018, Istanbul’s 27th High Criminal Court ruled that “the legal elements of the imputed offence did not occur” and acquitted Prof. İştar Gözaydın.

Front Line Defenders welcomes the acquittal of Professor İştar Gözaydın but remains concerned about the situation of other imprisoned human rights defenders and calls on the Turkish authorities for their immediate release and full acquittal.

23 December 2016
Detention of academic and human rights defender İştar Gözaydın

On 20 December 2016, police officers arrested Ms. İştar Gözaydın at her house in Istanbul.

Download the Urgent Appeal (PDF)

On 20 December 2016, simultaneous police operations were launched in the provinces of Izmir, İstanbul, Manisa and Adana as part of an investigation initiated by Izmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Terror and Organized Crime Bureau Prosecutor into the “Fethullahist Terror Organization/Parallel State Structure”. During the operations, 14 out of the 33 staff members of Gediz University, who the prosecutor issued arrest warrants for, were detained. As part of this operation, Iştar Gözaydın was detained at her home in Istanbul at 6 am. After her arrest, she was sent to Izmir where she is currently detained. According to Iştar Gözaydın’s lawyer, who was able to gain access to her in detention, she has not been officially charged and her detention is linked to the investigation file on Gediz University which was opened in 2015 and now under a confidentiality order, which affects the lawyer’s access to information on the case.

Prior to this, on 21 July 2016, İştar Gözaydın was suspended from her work as a Head of Department of Sociology at Gediz University because of her Twitter posts against capital punishment and violence in Turkey. On 22 July 2016, Gediz University in Izmir was closed down by a Statutory Decree for its alleged links with the Fethullahist Terror Organization/Parallel State Structure”.  This followed the attempted coup in Turkey that authorities have blamed on a group that allegedly follows the US based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Front Line Defenders condemns the arrest and detention of İştar Gözaydın, as it believes they are motivated by her peaceful and legitimate defence of human rights in Turkey.

Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Turkey to:

1.Immediately and unconditionally release human rights defender İştar Gözaydın and drop all charges against her;

2. Ensure that the treatment of İştar Gözaydın, while under arrest, adheres to the conditions set out in the ‘Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment', adopted by UN General Assembly resolution 43/173 of 9 December 1988;

3.Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Turkey are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions, including judicial harassment.