The second hearing against students who participated in the "We are revolting" ('Başkaldırıyoruz') protest action at the renowned Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) on 5 January was held on Wednesday (14 December). A total of 117 students are being tried by reason of attending the protest action and alleged resistance to the police. The trial will be continued on 16 March.
The students had protested the Higher Education Council (YÖK) and the government during a meeting of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with the rectors. The police intervened with tear gas and water cannons against the students.
117 students are facing prison terms of between one year and nine months and ten years. They are charged with "opposing Law No.2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations", "resistance to the police" and "harming public property".
"I was sitting an exam - what basis was I arrested on?"
Only 34 of the indicted students attended the hearing at the Ankara 24th Criminal Court of First Instance. Defendant Akın Can stated that he was sitting an exam on 5 January during the time of the protest action. Can presented an according document to the judge and added, "I do not know on what basis I was arrested on".
Defendant Kazım Laço claimed that he went to the place of the press release because he had been directed accordingly by the police. "Why was I directed to go there when they were going to attack us like that?" he questioned.
Several students claimed to their defence that it was their democratic right to attend the press release. Thus, they rejected all charges pressed against them.
The judge decided to have an expert examine the CD submitted to court by the Ankara Governorship in order to determine the persons on the video and to decide whether the footage constituted a legal basis or not. The trial was postponed to 16 March 2012 to hear the defendants who did not attend the hearing. (SK/NV/VK)