Academic for Peace Meral Camcı to Be Paid Compensation for Time She Spent Behind Bars

Yazar / Referans: 
Tansu Pişkin, Bianet

İstanbul Anadolu 10th Heavy Penal Court has ruled that Dr. Lecturer Meral Camcı shall be paid 1,723 Turkish lira (~205 US dollars) for non-material damages for the 23 days she spent behind bars.

Camcı and her attorney's application for material damages as per Article 14 of the Law on Criminal Procedures have been rejected.

Speaking to bianet about the court decision, attorney Meriç Eyüboğlu said, "The person was arrested, then it is revealed that this arrest was unlawful, there was no crime and a verdict of acquittal was given. But in return for that, the state says 'Pardon' by pricing each day under arrest 75 lira."

More than 2,000 academics were dismissed from their posts and put on trial for signing a 2016 declaration titled, "We will not be a party to this crime," which criticized the human rights violations during the conflict in the Kurdish-majority southeast. 

The Constitutional Court ruled last July that the rights of the Academics for Peace were violated. While most academics have been acquitted after the top court ruling, they have not yet been reinstated and their losses have not been compensated. 

Saying that they would appeal the decision, Eyüboğlu noted, "But bringing this to the court is not very important. This striking decision showing the importance that the state attaches to the rights and freedoms of the people, or rather insignificance, is apparent."

The trial process

An arrest warrant was issued on March 14, 2016, against Dr. Lecturers Esra Mungan, Muzaffer Kaya and Meral Camcı and Assoc. Prof. Kıvanç Ersoy, who spoke for the Academics for Peace at a press conference on March 10.

Apart from Çamcı, who was abroad at the time, the academics went to the police and were arrested on March 15.

Çamcı was also arrested after returning to Turkey on March 30. All four academics were released after the first hearing at the İstanbul 13th Heavy Penal Court on April 22.

They were acquitted in September 2019 following the Constitutional Court decision.

Attorney Eyüboğlu filed separate compensation lawsuits for the four academics on the grounds that they were deprived of liberty by unlawful and arbitrary arrests as per Article 141 of the Law on Criminal Procedures.

Çamcı's case was the first to be concluded.

About the Trials of Academics

On January 10, 2016, 1,128 academics published a declaration entitled "We will not be party to this crime" on behalf of the Academics for Peace initiative.

With the participation of further academics, the number of academics who have signed the declaration has reached 2,212.

With the indictment issued by the Prosecutor İsmet Bozkurt, lawsuits were filed against the academics on charge of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" as per the Article No. 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law No. 3713.

As of October 30, 2019, 806 academics had stood trial since December 5, 2017, all the 204 academics whose cases were concluded were sentenced to prison. 146 of these academics were sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison; 8 academics to 1 year and 6 months in prison; 18 academics to 1 year, 10 months and 15 days in prison; 17 academics to 2 years and 3 months in prison; 7 academics to 2 years and 6 months in prison; 5 academics to 2 years and 1 month in prison; and one academic to 3 years in prison.

Non-deferred prison sentences for 36 people

Of these 204 people, the verdicts of conviction of 36 academics in total were not deferred; while the verdicts of 29 people were not deferred as their prison terms are over 2 years (as per the Article 286 of the Law on Criminal Courts), the verdicts of 7 academics were not deferred as they did not accept the deferment of the announcement of their verdicts.

With her 15-month prison sentence upheld by the court of appeal, Academic for Peace Prof. Dr. Füsun Üstel was arrested on May 8, 2019 to be released on July 22.

Constitutional Court said "violation of right"

The General Assembly of the Constitutional Court examined the individual applications of 10 Academics for Peace sentenced to prison on charge of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" for having signed the peace declaration.

On July 26, 2019, the Court ruled that the penalization of Academics for Peace on charge of "terror propaganda" has violated their freedom of expression.

The Court decided that a copy of this judgement shall be sent to all local courts in order to eliminate this right's violation and advised for retrial. The court also ruled to pay each applicant 9 thousand TRY in reparations.


After the new judicial year opened on September 2, the first verdict of acquittal for an Academic for Peace in accordance with the Constitutional Court ruling was given by the İstanbul 30th Heavy Penal Court on September 6. Since then, 27 courts have given verdicts of acquittal for Academics for Peace.

Constitutional Court ruling and its consequences

The ruling of the Constitutional Court stipulates that the local courts shall hold re-trials and give verdicts of acquittal in ongoing cases and for finalized sentences and the courts of appeal shall reverse the judgements in question.

The State of Emergency Commission, which has not yet given its decision regarding the applications of discharged academics, shall also take the Constitutional Court ruling into account. However, it can still give contrary rulings.

In the event that the Commission gives a decision against the academics, they will have the right to appeal to the Council of State. Though the Constitutional Court ruling is binding for the Council of State, any possible failure to withdraw the decisions of discharge will also be examined by the Constitutional Court.