Prominent professor and social scientist İştar Gözaydın, who has been behind bars since late December on terror charges, was released pending trial by a court on Thursday under a restriction on traveling abroad.
According to Cumhuriyet daily reporter Canan Coşkun, the İstanbul 27th High Criminal Court decided to release Özaydın with a foreign travel restriction and adjourned her trial until Sept. 12, 2017.
Gözaydın was detained on Dec. 20 as part of an investigation conducted by the İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office into the faith-based Gülen movement. She was arrested on Dec. 27. The professor was head of the sociology department at the İzmir-based Gediz University, which was shut down by government decree along with thousands of other educational institutions in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15.
A total of 396 women had recently launched a petition campaign demanding her release.
“We are witnesses for İştar Gözaydın. We ask for an end to her investigation and arrest, which turned into a massacre of law through accusations she has been subjected to as a writer and scientist, and we demand the release of our friend,” the women say in the petition as they call on all women from every walk of life, profession and political view to sign it.
A former Fulbright scholar, Gözaydın had worked as a research fellow at Birkbeck, University of London, and is also among the founders of the Helsinki Citizens Assembly, a Turkish-based human rights organization.
The failed military coup attempt on July 15 killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.