EI has launched a petition in association with LabourStart to condemn the prison sentences imposed on 25 Turkish trade unionists, members of both EI affiliate Egitim Sen and the Confederation of Public Employees’ Unions (KESK).
The 25 members of Egitim Sen and KESK were condemned to 6 years and 5 months prison by the Izmir High Court for engaging in what would be regarded elsewhere as legitimate trade union activities.
Egitim Sen lawyers are going to appeal to the upper court. 6 other defendants have been acquitted. One of the condemned union activists is Gulcin Isbert, Egitim Sen’s former women’s secretary, who was awarded the EI Human and Trade Union Rights Award at the recent EI Congress, for engaging in legitimate trade union activities. Because the unions appealed the verdicts, the union officials and activists are not yet serving their prison sentences.
The 25 trade unionists were amongst the 31 unionists charged since November 2009 for allegedly belonging to an “illegal” Kurdish organisation. They have been labeled as “terrorists” based on possession of books that can be found in any bookstore in Turkey, participation in union meetings and other things which have nothing whatsoever to do with criminal activity.
EI has been very supportive of its affiliates’ defendants throughout this campaign and have always shown great solidarity. EI delegations composed of representatives from EI’s member organisations in Europe have attended all seven court hearings and final verdict on 28 November.
The condemnation of 25 activists has been condemned by the last EI Executive Board and the statement was sent to the Turkish authority.
Please sign the petition on the LabourStart website : http://www.labourstart.org/cgi-bin/solidarityforever/show_campaign.cgi?c=1202