Click to read the article in Turkish
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has released a written statement and referred to the decision of President and Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who withdrew his complaint against the students of Middle East Technical University (METU), who were previously arrested due to a banner that they carried during their graduation ceremony.
In the statement, it has been indicated, "The students' trial is due to begin on October 22, but the prosecutor is likely to seek their acquittal following the announcement that the president has withdrawn his complaint."
"A positive move that does not address the problem"
While the Human Rights Watch has referred to Erdoğan's decision of withdrawal as "a positive and welcome development for the four students scheduled for trial", it has been emphasized that this decision "does not address the wider problem of thousands of similar ongoing cases in the courts which blatantly violate freedom of expression."
The Europe and Central Asia acting director at Human Rights Watch, Benjamin Ward has also stated,
"Insulting the president' should not be a crime, and students holding up a satirical banner obviously should never have faced prosecution."
"Government should stop mockery of human rights"
Ward has added, "Turkish courts have convicted thousands of people in the past four years simply for speaking out against the president. The government should stop this mockery of human rights and respect people in Turkey's right to peaceful free expression."
Ward has emphasized, "Decisions by prosecutors and courts to start or drop cases should not rest on the word of the president."
Click here to read the other Turkey reports of Human Rights Watch
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