Turquía - Education trade unionists sentenced as terrorists (2012)

On 28 October, the Izmir Criminal Court sentenced 25 members of the teachers’ union Egitim Sen, affiliated to the public sector conferedaton KESK and Education International (EI) to 6 years and 5 months in prison under the country’s anti-terrorism legislation. Prominent figures among those sentenced included KESK President Lami Özgen, the former Women’s Secretary of KESK, Ms. Songul Morsumbul, Egitim Sen Women’s Secretary Ms. Sakine Esen Yilmaz, and former Women’s Secretaries Ms. Gulcin Isbert and Ms. Elif Akgul Ates. The “evidence” against them included possession of books that can be found in any bookstore in Turkey and the holding of union meetings. Owing to the lack of evidence it had appeared that the defendants were going to be acquitted, until two of the judges were summarily removed from the trial just before the final hearing. Even the Chief Justice was in favour of an acquittal. KESK lodged an appeal against the Criminal Court decision.

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