Students Ferhat Tüzer and Berna Yılmaz were released pending trial at their fourth hearing on Thursday (6 October) after a detention period of 19 months. The 22-year-old students stand trial on the grounds of a banner reading "We want free education and we will get it" posted during a speech of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the Romani meeting in Istanbul on 14 March 2010.
The court board of the Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court chaired by Judge Aytekin Özcanlı decided unanimously for the release of both students and thus followed the correspondent request of Prosecutor Kasım İlimlioğlu.
Tüzer and Yılmaz are facing imprisonment of up to 15 years each under allegations of "membership of the DHKP/C terror organization" (Party and Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of the Turkish People) and "making propaganda for a terrorist organization".
Ferhat Tüzer was a sophomore student at the Thrace University Mechanical Department, and Berna Yılmaz a fourth-year student at the Ankara University Faculty of Languages, History and Geography. Both students were expelled from university during their lengthy detention period.
Tüzer was imprisoned at the Kandıra F Type Prison, Yılmaz was incarcerated at the Bakırköy Women and Juveniles Detention Centre.
Both students were taken into police custody right from the meeting in March 2010 where they had put up their banner. Their homes were searched by the police thereupon. Legal magazines, press releases and notebooks were seized and included into the case file as evidence. Tüzer and Yılmaz were arrested subsequently and kept in prison until the Thursday hearing. (EKN/IC/AS)
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