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Court says Turkey violated petition-signing scholars’ rights

July 26, 2019 GMT
FILE - In this Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 file photo, people hold a banner showing some of the academics on trial and reads in Turkish: 'Peace', as they participate in a protest outside a court in Istanbul. Turkey's top court has ruled that 10 academics had their rights violated when they were sentenced on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda for signing a petition that called for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast. They were among hundreds of members of a group called Academics for Peace who signed the petition in January 2016. The Constitutional Court on Friday, July 26, 2019 ordered re-trials and compensation for the 10 academics who appealed. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, file)
FILE - In this Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017 file photo, people hold a banner showing some of the academics on trial and reads in Turkish: 'Peace', as they participate in a protest outside a court in Istanbul. Turkey's top court has ruled that 10 academics had their rights violated when they were sentenced on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda for signing a petition that called for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast. They were among hundreds of members of a group called Academics for Peace who signed the petition in January 2016. The Constitutional Court on Friday, July 26, 2019 ordered re-trials and compensation for the 10 academics who appealed. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, file)

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s top court ruled Friday that 10 academics had their rights violated when they were sentenced on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda for signing a petition calling for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the country’s mainly Kurdish southeast.

They were among hundreds of members of a group called Academics for Peace who signed the petition in January 2016. Nearly two dozen have been convicted of aiding outlawed Kurdish rebels by adding their names to the document.

The Constitutional Court ordered re-trials and compensation for the 10 academics, who had appealed their sentences. The ruling could lead to acquittals for other academics on trial.

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The petition was circulated after the government imposed curfews in southeastern Turkey while cracking down on the rebel Kurdistan Workers’ Party.