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Title: Scholars at Risk calls for letters on behalf of Professor Kemal Gürüz of Turkey
Publication: SAR Press Release
Author: Scholars at Risk
Country: Turkey
Published Date:
July 24, 2012


Scholars at Risk is gravely concerned over reports that Professor Kemal Gürüz—a former university rector, retired professor and chemical engineer—has been arrested.

SAR asks for letters, faxes and emails urging the appropriate authorities to examine the circumstances of Professor Gürüz’s arrest, detention, and sentencing; to intervene to reverse his death sentence; and, pending his earliest release, to intervene to ensure his well-being and access to family and counsel in custody.

Scholars at Risk (SAR) is an international network of over 280 universities and colleges in 34 countries dedicated to promoting academic freedom and its constituent freedoms of thought, opinion, expression, association and travel. In cases like that of Professor Gürüz, involving alleged infringement of these freedoms, Scholars at Risk intervenes hoping to clarify and resolve matters favorably.

Professor Kemal Gürüz is a scholar of chemical engineering, former rector of Karadeniz Technical University in Trabzon, Turkey, and a retired professor of chemical engineering at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. He also served as president of Turkey’s Council of Higher Education, a national board of governors for all institutions of higher education, and the Turkish Scientific and Technical Research Council.

Scholars at Risk understands that, in late June 2012, Professor Gürüz was traveling abroad when he was informed that the police wanted to interrogate him in Turkey. He subsequently returned home and presented himself at the Ankara Courthouse on June 25th. Reports indicate that he was interrogated for 3 hours, after which he was ordered to be jailed. Although the exact charges against him have not been made public, SAR understands that Professor Gürüz’s arrest relates to his alleged role in the political transition in 1997 in Turkey. Media reports indicate that Professor Gürüz has previously stated publicly that he had “done nothing illegal.” Scholars at Risk understands that Professor Gürüz is currently being held in Sincan prison in Ankara, where he is permitted only limited contact with his family.

The suddenness of Professor Gürüz’s arrest without clear public explanation and the lack of any clear basis for his pre-trial detention suggest a failure to adhere to standards of international due process, fair trial and detention, as guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Turkey is signatory. In addition, Professor Gürüz’s treatment, taken into account with the many recent reported arrests of academics and journalists throughout Turkey, raises concerns about the ability of scholars to work freely and safely in Turkey.

Scholars at Risk therefore respectfully urges the appropriate authorities to intervene in Professor Gürüz’s case and to ensure that it proceeds in a manner consistent with Turkey’s obligations under domestic and international law, in particular internationally recognized standards of due process, fair trial, free expression and freedom of association. Scholars at Risk urges the appropriate authorities to ensure Professor Gürüz’s well being in custody, including access to counsel and family. We also respectfully urge the appropriate authorities to ensure reasonable opportunity for Professor Gürüz’s release on bail or bond, as we understand that the standard grounds for pre-trial detention (prevention of violence, failure to appear and evidence preservation) are lacking.

Scholars at Risk invites letters, emails and faxes be sent:

-respectfully urging authorities to intervene in Professor Gürüz’s case and to ensure that it proceeds in a manner consistent with Turkey’s obligations under domestic and international law, in particular internationally recognized standards of due process, fair trial, free expression and freedom of association;

-respectfully urging authorities to ensure Professor Gürüz’s well being in custody, including access to counsel and family; and

-respectfully urging authorities to ensure reasonable opportunity for Professor Gürüz’s release on bail or bond, as Scholars at Risk understands that the standard grounds for pre-trial detention (prevention of violence, failure to appear and evidence preservation) are lacking.

PLEASE WRITE TO:

President Abdullah Gül
Cumhurbaşkanlığı Genel Sekreterliği
06689 Çankaya, Ankara
Turkey
Fax: +90 312 470 13 16
Email: cumhurbaskanligi@tccb.gov.tr

COPIES TO:

Mr. Sadullah Ergin
Minister of Justice
06669 Kizilay
Ankara, Turkey
Fax: +90 312 419 3370

The Honorable Hillary R. Clinton
United States Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520, USA

The Honorable Navanethem Pillay
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

The Honorable _________
Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to [YOUR COUNTRY]
[POSTAL ADDRESS]
[FAX]
[EMAIL]
(See http://www.mfa.gov.tr/turkish-representations.en.mfa for a list of Turkish embassies worldwide.)

The Honorable _________
Ambassador of [YOUR COUNTRY] to the Republic of Turkey
[POSTAL ADDRESS]
[FAX]
[EMAIL]

Scholars at Risk
New York University
194 Mercer St., 4th floor
New York, NY 10012 USA
Fax: +1 212 995-4402
Email: scholarsatrisk@nyu.edu

To view a model letter of appeal, as well as a copy of SAR's letter, please visit: http://scholarsatrisk.nyu.edu/Education-Advocacy/Alerts-Scholars-in-Prison.php.


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