The judges ruled for the release of two university students from Boğaziçi University who have been held in custody for more than three months and who faced an Istanbul court on Friday on multiple charges alongside 12 other students from the same university.
In the first hearing session of the trial in which students from Boğaziçi University faced charges of violating regulations on mass demonstrations, depriving some individuals of freedom, obstructing public service by resisting public servants and seizing public transport vehicles, the prosecutor asking for prison sentences from six to thirty two years.
Gök: ‘Am I in custody because I stood against suppression of people by others?’
Ersin Berke Gök, one of the students who has been in custody since 5 October, explained about his detention in his defence statement:
“Everything actually started the day before. There was a link in the message that I received on my phone. A link to a news article of the state news agency. Erdoğan was calling me a terrorist. I shared the message to people around me and they were astonished. I received calls for about an hour. They were telling me that I’d probably get arrested. The undercover cops in the school campus were following me. Meanwhile, the police in the task force unit was actually waiting for me. When I went off campus they were suddenly all over me. I found my best friend waiting for me in the detention transport vehicle. They then brought five of my other friends. We must have visited three different hospitals to get a medical reports on beatings. They finally decided on one. Some time later we were back in the vehicle. Our hands were cuffed from behind. The torture continued. We chanted the slogan, ‘Side by side against fascism’. Then we were arrested. So, another face of fascism. Getting harassed, receiving orders, meals that were denied. No hot water, books denied, academic notes delivered too late, classes we couldn’t have. Appeals that were never filed, letters that were denied. You can forget things when you have spent 50 days in a cell. Am I in custody because I stood against poverty and against suppression of people by other people? I will learn in a short while, will this go on or is it over?”
Özen: ‘If there is a vandal concerned here, it’s not me’
Caner Perit Özen, the other student who has also been in custody, then made statements.
“I really don’t know what to say about the accusations, but let me just share this. The indictment came in the evening. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the fourth accusation: ‘Seizing and abducting land transport vehicles.’ This had me laughing through the entire night. I don’t know what else to say. I thank the prosecutor’s office for this. I also heard Naci İnci [the rector appointed by the Turkish president] use the term ‘vandal’ on a government media channel. This person is somebody who regularly orders the security guards to attack the students. He is someone who gets in the way of the academy members. If there is a vandal concerned here, it’s not me. All the trustees that have been appointed to the university have taken orders from a single person and executed the orders they got. It is not possible that I’ve taken part in an action particularly against them. My captivity is totally political. We just went on struggling. We didn’t commit any crime. We are not just poor young people who’ve been deprived of their right to an education. We also have a struggle. And we will not stand humbly before someone and let ourselves be held accountable as the trustees do.”