The Sarıyer (Istanbul) 3rd Criminal Court of First Instance handed down a 1year and three months prison sentence each to 18 students of the Istanbul Technical University (İTÜ). The students were punished for protesting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the course of the politician's visit on the occasion of an opening ceremony at the university.
The trial against the 18 students was opened two years ago in 2008. The court convicted the students under charges of opposing Law No. 2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations. The sentences were postponed due to a lack of criminal record of the defendants.
The young defendants were convicted on 5 November. The sentence will be executed if they commit the same sort of crime within the coming five years. The students had shouted slogans critical of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) during the prime minister's visit and posted banners reading, "The İTÜ madrasah", "An AKP government movie", "The great invasion" and "The keynote speaker of the İTÜ opening ceremony, the rectorship is not a branch of the AKP".
Tüzer and Yılmaz detained for eight months
Ferhat Tüzer and Berna Yılmaz, two members of the "Youth Federation", have been detained for eight months now. They were arrested for displaying a banner reading "We want free education, and we will get it" during the speech of PM Erdoğan at the "Romani meeting" on 14 March this year in Istanbul.
Mother of detained student called on Prime Minister
The trial against Tüzer and Yılmaz started on 30 September before the Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court. Preceding the first hearing, Tüzer's mother called on the Prime Minister and President Abdullah Gül, "I am just as much a prisoner as my son. He did not hit anybody, he did not steal. He wanted free education which is the right of any student. My son experienced injustice. They should let him free. I am calling on the President, the Prime Minister and the President of YÖK [Higher Education Council] with the cry for help from a mother. Give an end to this injustice".
Tüzer and Yılmaz are charged with "membership of an illegal organization" and face imprisonment of between six to 15 years. The next hearing is scheduled for 14 December. (EÖ/VK)
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