Turkey hunger striker Gulmen found guilty but released


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Reuters

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Mr Ozakca (L) and Gulmen (R) lost their jobs in the post-coup crackdown

A Turkish professor, on hunger strike since losing her job in a purge after last year’s failed coup, has been convicted of belonging to a banned far-left group but freed pending an appeal.

Nuriye Gulmen was sentenced to six years and three months in jail for being a member of the DHKP-C group.

A co-defendant, primary school teacher Semih Ozakca, was acquitted of similar charges. Both deny links to the group.

Turkey says the DHKP-C is a terrorist organisation.

Gulmen was found not guilty of lesser charges, which related to the organisation of illegal protests.

Mr Ozakca has also been on hunger strike since losing his job in the crackdown, in the summer of 2016.

On 21 October, the court released Mr Ozakca on condition that he wore an ankle monitor.

A third defendant, Acun Karadag, has been acquitted on a charge of participating in illegal protests.

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Media captionThe lives on hold after Turkey’s attempted coup

The two were detained in May over alleged links to the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) group, banned by Turkey, the European Union and United States.

They say their hunger strike is aimed at drawing attention to the plight of more than 100,000 state employees suspended or sacked since the coup attempt.

Relatives say they can no longer walk and are suffering from ailments including heart rhythm problems, pain and sensitivity to light.

They have been on a diet of only liquids and supplements since March.

Turkish authorities blame the 2016 coup attempt on supporters of a US-based preacher, Fethullah Gulen.

Mr Gulen has condemned the coup and denied involvement.


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