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The first hearing in the trial of academic Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça who have been on a hunger strike for 190 days after being dismissed from their positions through a statutory decree, will begin today (September 14).
The hearing will be held before Ankara 19th Heavy Criminal Court and will begin at 1.30 p.m.
Defendants not being brought to courtroom
Gülmen and Özakça said on a posting they shared on their social media account on September 4, that they would attend the hearing.
Yet Republican People's Party MP Barış Yarkadaş stated that the gendarmerie refused to bring them to the courtroom with an excuse saying "We don't have enough personnel, if we bring them, they will cause them to escape".
Gülmen and Özakça have been in detention on remand and continuing their hunger strike in prison since they had been arrested on May 23, 2017 on the ground that "they would disturb the functioning of the justice system in case they were not arrested and probationary measures would be insufficient when taken into account prescribed time to be served for the respective crimes".
In the indictment, they are being charged with "being a member of a terrorist organization", "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" and "opposing to the Law on Assembly and Demonstrations.
About Gülmen and Özakça
Nuriye Gülmen was employed at Eskişehir Osmangazi University.
After her contract was not renewed, she brought a lawsuit and won. Seven months later, she started to work at Selçuk University. A day after she started her job, she was suspended from her duty based on the "FETÖ-PDY (Fethullahist Terror Organization-Parallel State Structure) investigation launched into her. She was discharged on January 6, 2017 via the Statutory Decree No. 679.
Semih Özakça was a classroom teacher at Mazıdağı Cumhuriyet Primary School in Mardin. He was discharged via the Statutory Decree No. 675 over "being linked with terror organizations".
Gülmen has been in front of Human Rights Monument on Yüksel Street in Turkey's capital city of Ankara to stage a sit-in since November 9, and Özakça since November 23.
On hunger strike since March 9, 2017
On March 11, they declared that they would go on a permanent non—rotational hunger strike. They were detained on March 9 and they went on hunger strike in detention.
During their resistance protest that they started in front of Human Rights Monument on Yüksel Street in Ankara, they have been detained and released several times.
On May 22, they were detained for the last time and arrested on the next day. They have been continuing their hunger strike in prison since their arrest on May 23. (BK/DG)
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