30 students are charged with “propaganda” for protesting against students who distributed Turkish delights on campus in support of Turkey’s 2018 military operation on Afrin

The fifth hearing in the trial of 30 students from İstanbul’s Boğaziçi University who staged a counter-protest on 19 March 2018 against another group of Boğaziçi students distributing Turkish delights on campus in support of Turkey’s military operation in the northern Syrian region of Afrin, took place on 15 October 2019.

The hearing at the 32nd High Criminal Court of Istanbul began an hour-and-a-half later than scheduled. Defendants Kültigin Demirlioğlu and Emir Eray Karabıyık were in attendance as well as defense lawyers. In addition to P24, Academics for Peace and a representative from the European Mathematical Society monitored the hearing.

The presiding judge announced that the prosecution had submitted their final opinion of the case in between courtroom hearings. In the final opinion, the prosecutor requested the court to convict the defendants of the “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization” charge.

Speaking next, the prosecutor said that he reiterated the written opinion.

Defense lawyers requested time to prepare their final defense statements in response to the prosecutor’s final opinion.

Pointing out that the Constitutional Court’s judgments concerning the applications of Academics for Peace and teacher Ayşe Çelik constituted precedents for this trial, lawyer Yıldız İmrek requested additional time for the prosecution to reconsider their final opinion. Also reminding the court about the anticipated amendments to be introduced with the judicial reform package, İmrek requested the court to acquit her clients.

Interfering the lawyer, the presiding judge said, “The prosecutor is capable of asking for more time himself.”

Addressing the court during the hearing, Demirlioğlu requested time to prepare his defense statement. He also told the court that the final opinion contained a mistake about him. He said that the two CD’s containing footage from the school’s security cameras were claimed to belong to him, even though no digital equipment or CD’s or flash disks were found on him during his arrest and that this was recorded in the police report. Karabıyık also requested additional time for the preparation of his defense statement.

In its interim ruling, the court decided to grant the defendants additional time for their final defense statements. Ruling to postpone its decision about the return of the digital equipment confiscated from the defendants until the verdict, the court adjourned the trial until 31 January 2020.

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