Students kept in prison because they did not ‘regret’

The law amendment on parole in Turkey has been implemented once again and the results are the elimination of parole for political prisoners. This example involves 3 university students, Didar Boza, Ceylan Bozkurt and Merve Nur İşleyici who were imprisoned for being a ‘members of an organisation’, because they joined public press announcements and peaceful demonstrations as students.

The three young women have been behind bars in a Turkish prison for four years and have now not been released because they did not ‘regret their actions’ according to the ‘regret law’ and have to stay another 6 months locked up.

Didar Boza, Ceylan Bozkurt, and Merve Nur İşleyen, were imprisoned for participating in peaceful demonstrations and attending public press announcements when they were students at Isparta Süleyman Demirel University. They were sentenced to 6 years and 3 months in prison. The sentence was reduced to 4 years and 8 months.

Boza, Bozkurt, and İşleyici are imprisoned in Şakran Women’s Closed Prison in Turkey’s western province of Izmir and their ‘time served’ in prison was officially supposed to be completed on January 9 2021.

However, they were not released on the grounds of the Regulation of the Assessment of Convicts and Observation and Classification Centres otherwise known as the notorious, ‘Regret Law’.

Ground for sentence is democratic demonstrations

According to the information that students gave to families on phone calls, a 9-person delegation consisting of psychologists, sociologists, and technical experts visited them

On December 29, 2020. Then after that, the decision was officially made on 1st January 2021, they decided to keep them detained for 6 more months.

Reading a book is a reason for the penalty

All three students will now remain in prison for at least 6 more months and both they and their families only learnt it one day before their release date.

Didar Boza’s mother Nazli Boza said, “They came and asked my daughter about what she is going to do when she is released and also asked her whether she ‘regrets’ her actions, they have no right to do that.”

“She has not been released in my opinion because she is staying in the same ward with other political prisoners, she is reading books from the library, these are all absurd and fictitious reasons,” she stated.

“We strongly support our children”

“Our children should be released immediately. There will be a review meeting every 6 months. This is dishonoring, they have no right to ask the question, ‘Do you regret?” for a person who has served her entire sentence!” Boza’s mother said.

Ceylan Bozkurt’s mother, Türkan Bozkurt strongly agrees with her. “We are all shocked!” she said and added that they support their children.

“They asked our children the question, ‘What will you do when you will be free?’ and our children’s answer was that they will continue their education. They should know that our children are not alone, we will be behind them forever.”

The families of the students noted, “We will make our voices heard to the public. We have already contacted Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) prison commissions to bring the issue to the parliament.”

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Students kept in prison because they did not ‘regret’

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