Human Rights Association (İHD) has announced that its Malatya Branch Chair Gönül Öztürkoğlu has been sentenced to 6 years, 3 months in prison in her final hearing today (December 18). “Activities of human rights advocacy is not a crime”, the association has emphasized.
Türkoğlu has been the Chair of İHD Malatya Branch since June 2016. A lawsuit was filed against her at the Malatya 5th Heavy Penal Court due to her activities on behalf of the İHD. She was charged with “engaging in acts and activities in the name of terrorist organization” and “terror propaganda”.
She was arrested for four months
Taken into custody in Malatya as part of operations against civil society workers and human rights defenders on December 27, 2018, Öztürkoğlu was arrested on November 30, 2018.
The bill of indictment issued against her listed a series of alleged criminal evidence, including her preparation for a panel discussion on International Women’s Day, her statements for the press, her attendance at meetings and demonstrations and her social media posts.
Rights organizations indicated that the activities cited in the indictment were “the activities that she undertook as a human rights defender and during her legitimate time in office as the İHD branch chair.”
Öztürkoğlu was released in her second hearing on March 22, 2019. The court imposed an international travel ban on Öztürkoğlu and ruled that she should give signature at the police department every week.
The prosecutor presented his opinion as to the accusations on October 11, 2019. Announcing its verdict today, the Malatya 5th Heavy Penal Court has ruled that shall be sentenced to 6 years, 3 months in prison.