The Turkish Court of Appeal has upheld a one year and three-month prison sentence for Professor Zubeyde Fusun Ustel who signed a joint declaration for peace in Turkey in 2016. This decision was taken by a majority vote in the appeal court.
One of the member judges of the court argued that because of the dissenting opinion, the case should be reviewed under the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) 301 and the file should be sent to the first court that heard the case.
The decision on Ustel’s appeal is the first of the appeals by the “Academics for Peace”. As of March 3, 2019, the court had not agreed to suspend the announcement of the sentences for 10 people, including Ustel. 27 academics’ cases have been taken to the Court of Appeal, as well as those convictions that exceed two years.
Academics for Peace
Academics for Peace was founded in November 2012 in the aftermath of a statement that showed support for Kurdish prisoners’ demands for peace in Turkey, which they voiced through a hunger strike. The statement was signed by 264 academics from over 50 universities.
137 cases of academics have been concluded. 100 academics have been sentenced to one year and three months each; 14 academics to one year, 10 months and 15 days; four academics to one year and six months; 15 academics to two years and three months; two academics to two years and six months; one academic to two years and one month; and one academic to three years in prison.
Professor Ustel completed her secondary education at Notre Dame de Sion and her higher education at Ankara University’s Political Sciences Faculty (AUSBF). In 1982, she became a research assistant at Istanbul University Faculty of Economics, and in 1987 she received her doctorate from Ankara-based Ankara University Medical School. She became an associate professor in 1993.