On the 25th of March 2021 students marched in support of their fellow student who had been placed under disciplinary proceedings by the university trustees for placing a rainbow flag on top of the university’s gates. Students marched carrying rainbow flags in solidarity and were stopped by the police at North Campus of Boğaziçi University and were detained on the grounds that they were ‘carrying rainbow flags’.
Today, 3rd June 2021, twelve Boğaziçi University students appeared at İstanbul 24th Heavy Penal Court in the first hearing of the case.
The student who originally placed the rainbow flag on top of the Boğaziçi University gates spoke to Bianet about the detentions at the time:
“It is an utter absurdity that opening an LGBTI+ flag is considered a crime. Neither is it a crime to open an LGBTI+ flag, nor is it a crime to do it at the gate of the school.”
The hearing lasted a mere half an hour and was adjourned until the 28th June for the next hearing.
After being detained and charged the 12 Boğaziçi University students had been subjected to a travel ban.
Speaking today for the 12 defendants their lawyer, Levent Pişkin, reportedly said of these travel bans that have now been in place for 4 months.
“The judicial control measures which have been in effect for four months have turned into a punishment. We request the immediate lifting of measures.”
The court’s board refused to lift the travel bans that will continue to remain in place.
Boğaziçi Solidarity platform made a press statement before the hearing, referring to the 12 students: “They did not accept to live in a regime where there is an attempt to ban LGBTI+s from walking on the streets with their own colours, to erase the LGBTI+s from all types of protest demonstrations, to sow discord between them and the feminist struggle through the rainbow flag on March 8 Women’s Day, as well as before and after this day.”
A statement from the students as reported in Bianet read:
“You cannot prevent us from being ourselves even for a day. Not a cloud, a wind or a fascist dictatorship can manage to erase the rainbow from the sky. We will keep on shining with our all colors and drown the darkness that you are trying to bring upon us. Our existence cannot be banned, LGBTI+s cannot be silenced and rainbow cannot be banned.”
The next hearing will be on the 28th June 2021.