Expression Interrupted

Journalists and academics bear the brunt of the massive crackdown on freedom of expression in Turkey. Scores of them are currently subject to criminal investigations or behind bars. This website is dedicated to tracking the legal process against them.

School teacher Ayşe Çelik might go to prison on April 20 

School teacher Ayşe Çelik might go to prison on April 20 

Çelik, sentenced to 15 months in prison for her remarks on a TV show, risks going to prison unless Constitutional Court renders a ruling in her favor before Friday

Ayşe Çelik, a school teacher who was convicted of “conducting propaganda for a terrorist organization” in April 2017 for her remarks on a live TV show in 2016, when she said, “Don’t let children die,” concerning the sweeping curfews imposed on Turkey’s southeastern provinces back then, risks going to prison with her baby daughter on April 20, in case the Constitutional Court does not rule in favor of the young woman.

Çelik’s lawyer Mahsuni Karaman said over the past weekend that the application they’ve filed before the Constitutional Court requesting a stay of execution was still pending before the court as of Sunday, April 15.

“Teacher Ayşe [Çelik] will be sent to Diyarbakır Prison together with her six-month-old daughter Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. following the completion of procedures at the Diyarbakır Courthouse,” Karaman wrote in a Twitter post on Sunday, also mentioning the official Twitter account of the Constitutional Court of Turkey.

The Bakırköy 2nd High Criminal Court had convicted Çelik of “propaganda” charge on April 26, 2017, sentencing her to 1 year and 3 months in prison. The court delayed the sentence since Çelik was expecting a baby. Çelik’s lawyer appealed the verdict, but the 2nd Criminal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice upheld the trial court’s decision.

The period of delay granted to Çelik ends on April 20.

Çelik’s lawyer Karaman, in comments to the news website Artı Gerçek over the weekend, said that in addition to the petition demanding a stay of execution, they have also lodged an individual application before the Constitutional Court, but that neither of the two applications were reviewed by the top court as of April 15.

Çelik had said the following during a live phone call in 2016 to a talk show hosted by Beyazıt Öztürk: “Are you aware of what is happening in Turkey's Southeast? Media recounts what’s happening here very differently. Do not remain silent. See us, hear us, and lend us a hand. This is shameful! Don’t let people die, don't let children die, don't let mothers cry!”