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Son of late purge victim launches campaign for release of sister from detention

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The son of Associate Professor Ahmet Turan Özcerit, who was removed from his job, jailed and died of cancer in the wake of a failed coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016, has launched a signature campaign for the release of his sister from pre-trial detention.

Sinan Özcerit, a university student, launched the campaign on the change.org website. He also started a similar campaign on Twitter with the hashtag “Senanur’a Özgürlük” (Freedom to Senanur).

Senanur Özcerit, a journalism student at university, was detained along with her mother, Esra, on Tuesday. While the mother was released, the daughter still remains in police custody.

Sinan Özcerit announced the news about the detentions from his Twitter account on Tuesday morning and said there were actually 18 detentions in Sakarya on Tuesday and that friends of his sister, who are foreigners, were among the detainees.

“Senanur is still in police custody and at the risk of being arrested. Senanur should be studying for her final tests at this moment. Instead, she is struggling to sleep in a packed, cold cell while in police custody. Sensitive people on social media who do not want to be silent to the oppression of the Özcerit family, support the release of Senanur Özcerit under the #FreedomtoSenanur hashtag. She is only 19 years old and is seeking to be a journalist,” says the campaign on change.org.

Ahmet Turan Özcerit was among the thousands of civil servants who were removed from their jobs by the Turkish government due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement following the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. He was a faculty member of Sakarya University’s computer engineering department.

The Turkish government accuses the movement of masterminding the failed coup and terrorism, although the movement strongly denies any involvement.

Özcerit, who was subsequently jailed, was diagnosed with cancer while in prison and was only released when the cancer reached an advanced stage. He was kept in pre-trial detention for 13 months and died in February 2018.

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