Support by BirAraDa Association for Imprisoned Academics Füsun Üstel and Tuna Altınel

Yazar / Referans: 
Ekin Eylem Yıldız, Bianet

The Association for Science, Art, Education, Research and Solidarity (BirAraDa) has organized a postcard workshop in solidarity with imprisoned Academics for Peace Füsun Üstel and Tuna Altınel, who have been behind bars for over 50 days.

Established by the joint initiative of the Solidarity Academies' Coordination (DAK), the Association for Science, Art, Education, Research and Solidarity (BirAraDa) has organized a workshop in support for imprisoned Academics for Peace Füsun Üstel and Tuna Altınel.

Accordingly, the participants of the workshop prepared postcards to be sent to Füsun Üstel and Tuna Altınel in prison.

Speaking to bianet, Zeynep Tül Akbal, a member of the association, has referred to the event in following words: "We had a gathering and had a card-making workshop for both Prof. Üstel and Prof. Altınel. There is a reading group for Prof. Üstel, where some excerpts from her books are read. We tried to convey the cards to them via their attorneys."

Support by academies of solidarity

Füsun Üstel has been behind bars for 54 days and Tuna Altınel for 51 days. Akbal has stated that the association has been organizing events and sharing social media messages in order to raise concerns over their arrest and prevent people from getting used to it:

"BirAraDa Association is counting days, as if there was a counter. Like the 45th day, the 48th day... They are posted on social media. Other solidarity academies are supporting us by sharing these posts themselves."

BirAraDa produces together

Translated literally, the expression "Bir Arada" means "together". Accordingly, Akbal has underlined that the association has been producing together and recounted the foundation process of the association as follows:

"We were, by and large, leading the process with the coordination. In March 2017, we established a coordination among the solidarity academies. Afterwards, we established this association in order to make it active and carry on our works together.

"We have become more functional with the association, we have an assembly, we have started producing together. With the joint works of solidarity academies such as the working group on gender and working group on wheels, we have produced a lot together."

What happened?

Füsun Üstel

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.

Tuna Altınel

Assoc. Prof. Tuna Altınel from the Department of Mathematics at Lyon-1 University was arrested in Turkey's western province of Balıkesir on May 11, 2019 on the ground of a conference held in France. Altınel was taken into custody on May 10, when he he went to the Balıkesir Civil Registry to inquire about the restriction imposed on his passport. Being referred to court on duty by the Prosecutor's Office to be arrested, the academic was arrested and sent to Kepsut Type L Prison.

Speaking to bianet, his lawyer Meriç Eyüboğlu has stated that the academic is charged with "membership of a terrorist organization" on the ground that he did simultaneous interpreting at a conference on "Cizre basements"* held in France in 2019.

Altınel is also an Academic for Peace signatory to the declaration "We will not be a party to this crime". Charged with "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" as part of this lawsuit as well, Altınel's trial has been continuing at the İstanbul 29th Heavy Penal Court.