Dec 02 2017

Turkish hunger striker convicted as terror group member, released pending appeal

A Turkish court reached its verdict in the case of two high-profile hunger strikers late on Friday, exonerating one and sentencing the other, but nevertheless ordering her release, Cumhuriyet newspaper said.

Nuriye Gülmen was given a prison sentence of six years and three months for membership in the far-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), while Semih Özakça was found innocent of all charges against him.

“Down with fascism and imperialism. Long live our hunger strike!” Gülmen told the court.

Gülmen, a school teacher, and Özakça, an academic, were among nearly 100,000 public servants laid off in the aftermath of the failed July 2016 coup attempt, and they have pledged to remain on hunger strike until they are returned to their jobs.

The pair has survived for 270 days on a diet of sugar, salt, vitamins and tea.

“We are happy to have our daughter back,” Gülmen’s mother told the press.

“God willing, we want her to end her hunger strike … We haven’t seen her close up yet, but at the moment she is very thin, very worn out.”