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Academic Ersanlı sentenced to 1 year, 3 months over peace petition

(PHOTO: Hürriyet)

Professor Büşra Ersanlı of Marmara University was sentenced on Tuesday to one year, three months in prison, convicted of disseminating terrorist propaganda in signing a petition that demanded a halt to the Turkish army’s operations in predominantly Kurdish cities.

The petition was launched by the Academics For Peace in 2016.

The third hearing in her trial was held at the İstanbul 32nd High Criminal Court during which Ersanlı’s lawyer said the petition should be considered an exercise of the right to free speech.

However, the court announced the jail sentence without suspension due to “Ersanlı’s lack of regret for her crime,” according to the Bianet news website.

The petition was signed by 1,128 academics in January 2016, and trials of its signatories began in December 2017.

Since then, 241 academics have been tried, with courts handing down sentences of one year, three months in prison to 15 of the defendants. So far, only Ersanlı and Zübeyde Füsun Üstel, a professor from Galatasaray University, have not received suspended sentences.

Ersanlı has seven days to appeal the decision.

She had been put under pretrial detention for nine months in 2011-12 for alleged membership in the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK). The trial is still pending.

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