(Istanbul) – The decision to prosecute scores of academics for signing a January 2016 petition criticizing the Turkish government’s actions in southeastern Turkey seriously violates the right to free speech and academic freedom, Human Rights Watch said today. The charges are also a misuse of terrorism laws.
The trials of academics start on December 5, 2017, and will continue over the following months. At least 146 academics from public and private universities in Istanbul will face individual and separate trial hearings for “spreading terrorist propaganda” on behalf of the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). New cases are expected to be opened against signatories of the petition.