The High Court in Izmir has yet again postponed until 1 February 2011 its decision in the case concerning 31 public sector unionists, including 27 teacher unionists from Egitim Sen.
The charges against the defendants are the same charges which were made shortly after their arrest in May 2009, that is, providing “intellectual support to illegal organisations”.
The defendants are either members of the Turkish public sector union Kamu Emekçileri Sendikalari Konfederasyonu (KESK) or EI member organisation Egitim-Sen, and are either Kurdish or have links with the Kurdish community.
The unionists were arrested on 28 May 2009 following months of surveillance of individual phones and emails. Their homes and workplaces were searched and computers confiscated. The arrests occurred in a very brutal way which caused psychological difficulties for family members, especially the children. If found guilty, each defendant could be sentenced to up to 10 years' imprisonment.
An EI delegation attended the 4th hearing on 22 October 2010 which only lasted 15 minutes. Since their arrest and detention in May 2009, the trial has already been postponed four times, on 22 November 2009, 2 March, 22 June and now 22 October 2010.
The ban on travelling abroad has not been lifted, which will prevent the Egitim Sen Women Secretary, Gulçin Isbert, from attending the EI World Women Conference.
EI will be discussing ways to extend solidarity to its member organisation Egitim Sen.