Four students, who were taken into custody due to a banner which they carried during the graduation ceremony at Middle East Technical University (METU) in the capital city of Ankara, were arrested last evening (July 10).
Three of the students were detained on July 7, the day after the graduation ceremony, while the other student was taken into custody on July 9.
The caricature "was acquitted"
Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office launched an investigation into the banner carried during the graduation ceremony at METU on July 6 and charged the students who carried the banner with "insulting the president."
On the banner, there was a caricature which was originally published on the Penguen humor magazine in 2004. Under the heading of the "Kingdom of Tayyips", the caricature depicts the President and Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the form of an elephant, a cow, camel, frog, snake, duck, giraffe and monkey.
Erdoğan had filed a claim for immaterial compensation of 40 thousand YTL (New Turkish Lira). However, the case was rejected by the 1st Civil Court of First Instance on the ground that the caricature in question is within the scope of "freedom of expression".
Objections of attorneys were rejected
The attorneys of the four METU students objected to the detention of their clients on the day when they were taken into custody; however, the prosecutor Mehmet Taştan rejected the objections by referring to "the high number of suspects".
In its verdict of rejection, Taştan explained the reasons why "the students should remain in custody" as follows:
"Considering the scene where the crime was committed; the high number of suspects (three people); the existence of firm evidence that the crime was committed; and that the investigation into all connections of the crime has not been finalized, the objections in question have been rejected". (AS/SD)
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