Title: Scholars at Risk calls for letters on behalf of Busra Ersanli of Turkey
Publication: SAR Press Release
Author: Scholars at Risk
September 27, 2012
Scholars at Risk Network calls for letters in advance of the upcoming October 1st trial of Professor Büşra Ersanlı, a professor of political science at Marmara University in Istanbul.
Scholars at Risk is an international network of over 290 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 Ersanlı, involving alleged infringement of these freedoms, Scholars at Risk intervenes hoping to clarify and resolve matters favorably.
Scholars at Risk understands that Professor Ersanlı serves as a member of the constitutional commission of Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), a political party. Professor Ersanlı and dozens of others were arrested on October 28, 2011 in Istanbul during a police operation that appears to have targeted the BDP, and on November 1, 2011 Professor Ersanlı was charged with “membership of a terrorist organization” under Turkey’s Anti Terror Law, a charge which reflects the authorities’ allegation that the BDP is linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which is banned in Turkey and designated a terrorist organization by multiple countries. SAR further understands that the BDP publicly disavows this allegation, and SAR is not aware of any allegation that Professor Ersanlı is a member or otherwise associated with the PKK but rather that the charge against her stems only from her work on the intra-party constitutional commission of the BDP. Professor Ersanlı was released on July 13, 2012, pending the remainder of her trial, which SAR understands is scheduled to begin on October 1st.
Absent any additional or contrary information, the facts appear to indicate that Professor Ersanlı was arrested and charged as a result of nonviolent expressive activity and association with others, conduct which is expressly protected under international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Turkey is a signatory, and the European Convention on Human Rights, to which Turkey is party.
Scholars at Risk therefore respectfully urges the appropriate authorities to intervene in Professor Ersanlı’s case, to ensure that any charges stemming from conduct protected under these instruments are dismissed, and to ensure that the trial on any charges not dismissed proceeds in a manner consistent with Turkey’s obligations under domestic and international law, in particular internationally recognized standards of due process and fair trial procedures.
Scholars at Risk invites letters, emails and faxes be sent:
-respectfully urging authorities to intervene in Professor Ersanlı’s case, to ensure that any charges stemming from conduct protected under the above-mentioned instruments are dismissed; and
-respectfully urging authorities to ensure that the trial on any charges not dismissed proceeds in a manner consistent with Turkey’s obligations under domestic and international law, in particular internationally recognized standards of due process and fair trial procedures.
PLEASE WRITE TO:
President Abdullah Gül
Office of the President
Cumhurbaşkanlığı Genel Sekreterliği
Fax: +90 312 470 13 16
Mr. Sadullah Ergin
Minister of Justice
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 _________
Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to [YOUR COUNTRY]
(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
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
Scholars at Risk
New York University
194 Mercer St., 4th floor
New York, NY 10012 USA
Fax: +1 212 995-4402
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.