Tuna Altinel, a mathematics professor at Frances Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University was arrested in May 2019 and released in July while awaiting a second hearing in November. When released he was not denied travel but his passport was not returned. As there is no legal restriction on his travel CCS is requesting that his passport be returned to him.
November 19, 2019
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
President of Turkey
Office of the President
Fax: +90 312 417 04 76
Dear President Erdogan:
Tuna Altinel is a mathematics professor at France’s Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University. He was arrested in May 2019 and accused of “propagandizing for a terrorist organization” for participating in a meeting in France in which a documentary that is critical of Turkish actions against the Kurds was screened. A first hearing was held on July 30, after which he was released from prison, and is currently awaiting his second hearing on November 19.
Altınel was visiting Turkey on holiday in April 2019, and his passport was confiscated on entry. After several attempts to have it re-issued, he was arrested, on May 10, and imprisoned for 81 days. After his release, he was specifically not denied the right to travel, but his passport has not been returned to him, despite numerous pleas by his legal team. In September, Altınel was informed by Turkish officials that his passport would only be returned when or if he is acquitted, even though there is, at the moment, no legal ruling forbidding him from traveling.
This is in clear violation of Article 23 of the Turkish constitution, which guarantees the freedom to leave the country, except when it is specifically forbidden by law, which, in this case, it is not. It is also in violation of Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Turkey is a party.
Unable to travel back to France, where he resides, Altınel is unable to carry out his professional duties. The current situation is damaging to his career, family life, and well-being. We urge the Turkish authorities to return Tuna Altınel’s passport, and allow him to exercise his right to leave the country.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Chair, Young Scientists and Scholars
Committee of Concerned Scientists
Mr. Abdülhamit Gül
Minister of Justice
06659 Kizilay, Ankara
Tel: +90 (312) 417 77 70
Fax: +90 (0312) 419 33 70