Students Stay in Prison due to Alleged "Organizational Membership"
The six students tried in the scope of an event on International Women's Day remain in prison. Hatice Harman is involved in the case because she carried the picture of her deceased daughter during the event. Relatives of the defendants encountered tear gas inside the court house.
Hatice Harman stands trial together with six university students because she carried a photograph of her deceased daughter in a demonstration on the International Women's Day on 8 March. They face allegations of "membership of an illegal organization. The case was continued on Tuesday (17 January). The students will remain in detention.
Lawyer Selçuk Kozağaçlı, Head of the Contemporary Lawyers Association (ÇHD), commented, "While it is decided that 'no organization' was involved in the Hrant Dink murder, this trial is still being carried on under allegations of 'membership of an illegal organization' and none of the defendants was released..."
Kozağaçlı said that they presented their defence at the fifth hearing of the case which was then postponed to 1 February. Court President Hayrettin Kısa announced to give a decision on 1 February.
"Sentence is definite, now they are looking for a crime"
The trial is handled by the Malatya 3rd High Criminal Court. The corridor in front of the courtroom was cram-full with relatives of the defendants before the beginning of the session and tear gas was used to push back the crowd.
Republican People's Party (CHP) Malatya MP Veli Ağbaba observed the hearing. He was at a hearing when the tear gas was sprayed and reported that they were forced to leave the room due to the affect of the tear gas.
Ağbaba recalled, "Gas was sprayed against the families and the friends of the students". He condemned this practice inside a courthouse in a statement issued after the hearing.
"This case is characterized by complete lawlessness. The penalty is not given according to the offence. The sentence for the students is prepared and now they are trying to find a suitable offence", Ağbaba announced.
Offence: Selling concert tickets
University students Erkin Kocaman, Ayça Kılınç, Yusuf Yılmaz, Uğur Pektaş, Sevcan Göktaş and Kubilay Uçucu were taken into custody on 3 June 2011 and have been detained at the Malatya E Type Prison since 6 June.
Un-detained defendant Hatice Harman held up a picture of her daughter Feride Harman who died as the result of a hunger strike. She is tried under allegations of "making propaganda for the Party and Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of the Turkish People (DHKP-C) according to Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK). Harman was also present at the Tuesday hearing.
According to the indictment prepared by Special Authority Public Prosecutor Ömer Tetik, the university students are being prosecuted on charges of "membership of an illegal organization" as stipulated by Article 314/2 of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK) and "propaganda for an illegal organization (TMK 7/2).
The students "stand accused" of having attended the demonstration and subsequent press release on 8 March 2011 to mark the International Women's Day. Evidence against them includes selling tickets for the Grup Yorum concert and attending a commemoration ceremony for Mahir Çayan.
The defendants are facing prison terms of between one and five years. (AS/VK)
Malatya - BIA News Center
18 January 2012, Wednesday