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Turkish Constitutional Court refuses to release Gülmen and Özakça

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The Turkish Constitutional Court has rejected a petition for the release of two fired educators, Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, who have been on a hunger strike for 112 days to protest their dismissal under state of emergency decree-laws, the Hürriyet daily reported on Wednesday.

According to the report the court argued that being in prison did not pose a threat to the lives and physical or moral integrity of Gülmen and Özakça.

Gülmen and Özakça were on a hunger strike when they were arrested on terror charges on May 23 in Ankara in the wake of a botched coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016. Gülmen was fired from Konya Selçuk University, and Özakça was a teacher at a primary school in Turkey’s eastern province of Mardin before he was purged over ties to a “terrorist” organization.

The educators’ lawyers issued a statement on June 16 saying the health of Gülmen and Özakça was deteriorating and that they were facing heart failure.

Thorbjørn Jagland, the secretary-general of the Council of Europe, said on Monday that he asked Turkish Prime Minister Yıldırım to release the educators.

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