University student Cihan Kırmızıgül was released pending trial at the eighth hearing of his case on Friday (23 March). The Galatasaray University student is tried under allegations of "membership in an illegal organization". He was initially taken into custody because he was wearing a keffiyeh.
The hearing before the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court was attended by Kırmızıgül and his lawyers Hasan Fehmi Demir and Fikret İlkiz.
President Judge Rüstem Eryılmaz and the other members of the court board were substituted by a different court board due to a seminar of the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) in Ankara.
The hearing started at 15.00 hrs with a delay of three and a half hours because the preceding hearing took longer than expected.
Kırmızıgül's lawyers stated at court that they were not going to present a defence but would only briefly explain the reason why they requested his release.
Lawyer Demir claimed, "A secret witness indicated that Cihan Kırmızıgül was not among the people who threw Molotov cocktails. The Police looks at the incident with prejudice and deeming the young people guilty. For this reason, a decision cannot be given according to the police records".
"There is no reason for the court not to give the decision for [Kırmızığül's] release". Lawyer Ilkiz added and reiterated their demand.
Public Prosecutor İsmail Işık on the other hand demanded to keep the student in detention on the grounds of the quality and nature of crime imputed on Kırmızıgül and due to the current state of evidence.
After a five-minute intermission at 15.30, the court announced its decision to release Kırmızıgül pending trial.
Hence, the student will be tried without arrest after 25 months in detention.
"We came to get Cihan"
Many supporters of Kırmızıgül had gathered in front of the courthouse. They issued a press release in Turkish and Kurdish read by Prof Yasemin İnceoğlu from the Galatasaray University.
Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Istanbul MP Sebahat Tuncel said in a short speech, "We came to get Cihan".
Also Kırmızıgül's brother Serhat Kırmızıgül addressed the crowd. Republican People's Party (CHP) deputies Melda Onur and Hüseyin Aygün were among the people who supported the student as well as lawyer Eşber Yağmurdereli. The members of the teaching staff were wearing badges featuring the slogan "Don't touch my student".
Kırmızıgül was arrested while waiting for a bus. He was not able to continue his studies during his time in detention. The evidence his arrest was based on is the keffiyeh he wore around his neck. A keffiyeh is a traditional Arab headdress made from a square black and white piece of cloth.
In February 2010, a group of people threw Molotov cocktails to an empty supermarket in Çağlayan/Istanbul and fled the scene. Eye witnesses stated that the persons belonging to that group were wearing keffiyehs.
Kırmızıgül apparently was not aware of the incident at all when he left a friend's house around the same time the attack happened. He went to the bus stop and waited for his line, wearing his keffiyeh as a scarf. There, he was arrested because "he might have been part of the incident". (HK/ÇT)