Professor Füsun Üstel, who was jailed for signing a peace petition along with 1,128 other academics in 2016 calling on the Turkish government to halt military operations in the predominantly Kurdish southeastern region of the country, has been released from jail after serving two-and-a-half months, the Bianet news website reported on Tuesday.
Üstel was released from the Eskişehir Women’s Prison where she had been behind bars since she turned herself in on May 8 to serve a prison term of 15 months approved by the İstanbul Regional Court of Justice’s 3rd Penal Chamber.
Şennur Baybuğa, Üstel’s lawyer, said Üstel was to be transferred to an open prison on the 10th day of her imprisonment but that that was prevented first by an objection from the prosecutor and then by a court.
“What has been lived through was totally a violation of rights. The process was exhausting for all for all of us. … . Right now, I can say that the execution [of the sentence] has been suspended. We are very happy,” Baybuğa said.
The Constitutional Court will examine the applications of 10 academics who were signatories of the peace declaration including Üstel, on July 26.
The peace declaration frustrated President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, leading to retribution against the academics. Some of the insults Erdoğan used against them included “so-called intellectuals,” “a flock called intellectuals,” “traitors” and “rough copies of intellectuals.”
Hundreds of academics who signed the declaration were detained on terrorism charges when police raided their homes and offices across Turkey after the declaration was announced on Jan. 11, 2016, while hundreds of them were removed from their jobs.