On 27 November 2018, in a wave of detentions and imprisonments of civil society leaders and human rights defenders, Gönül Öztürkoğlu was taken into police custody in Malatya. She was officially arrested on 30 November and charged with “membership of a terrorist organisation” and “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation”.
The arrest was related to Öztürkoğlu’s work for IHD (Human Rights Association), where she has been President of the Malatya Branch from June 2016. Since the arrest, she has been part of a broader investigation targeting politicians of predominantly Kurdish political parties, in which she is the only human rights defender.
Öztürkoğlu’s activities carried for IHD are being used as evidence against her. These include preparing a panel for International Women’s Day, making statements, attending meetings and protests and posting on Social Media.
On 22 February 2019, during the first hearing of the trial, there was a request to release Öztürkoğlu from pre-trial detention. This request was made based on the authorities already having collected all the evidence, and her not posing a flight risk. The request was denied.
Following the second hearing on 22 March 2019, Öztürkoğlu was released from pre-trial detention under judicial control; she was banned from leaving the country and has to report to a local police station every week.
On 18 December 2019, the court announced its verdict and sentenced Öztürkoğlu to 6 years and 3 months in prison for “membership of a terrorist organisation”.
The decision will be finalized following the decision of the Court of Appeals.