BDP leader stands behind arrested students’ trials
VERCİHAN ZİFLİOĞLU ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
The co-leader of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), Selahattin Demirtaş (C) gave his support to Cihan Kırmızıgül, a university student who has been under arrest. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL
The co-leader of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) has thrown support behind a 22-year-old student under arrest and on trial, the main evidence against whom is a poshu scarf.
“I am informing on myself; have me arrested, too,” Demirtaş said yesterday in front of the Beşiktaş Courthouse in Istanbul, where Cihan Kırmızıgül was on trial on allegations of being a member of a terrorist organization.
“Poshu, class books, practically anything can be regarded as evidence of terrorist activities,” the BDP co-leader said. “The youth councils of the BDP are treated as terrorists by prosecutors, and intellectuals are thrown in prison.”
It was the fifth hearing yesterday for Kırmızıgül. In his four previous trials, the prosecutor requested his release on “lack of evidence,” but the court decided to continue subjecting him to trial for a proposed sentence of between 13 and 62 years in prison.
“Fighting against the government of the AKP [Justice and Development Party] requires willpower. We are prepared to pay whatever price arrested intellectuals and students are paying,” Demirtaş said.
The BDP is primarily focused on the Kurdish issue.
Kırmızıgül, a student of Kurdish origin at Istanbul’s Galatasaray University, stands accused of membership in the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), while the court regards a poshu scarf that he was wearing at the time of the incident as “strong criminal evidence.”
“He says his food is infested with bugs. [His weight] has dropped to 30 kg. I worry about his health condition,” the suspect’s father, Vahap Kırmızıgül, told the Hürriyet Daily News.
Vahap Kırmızıgül claimed his son was being subjected to physical and psychological violence in the Tekirdağ F-type prison in northwestern Turkey where he was being held. Cihan Kırmızıgül’s brother Serhat Kırmızıgül also filed a criminal complaint in July regarding the purple bruise marks on his brother’s body, his father explained.
“We have yet to obtain a [favorable] result, but we are not going to stop pursuing this. My confidence in the judiciary has been shaken,” Vahap Kırmızıgül said.
Cihan Kırmızıgül was implicated in February for wearing a poshu scarf near a grocery store in Istanbul’s Kağıthane district that was attacked by alleged PKK members wielding Molotov cocktails and wearing the same garment.
“My son was going to a bus stop after he left a college friend’s home. He was detained as a ‘terrorist’ because there was a poshu scarf around his neck at the time of the incident. His entire crime consists of wearing a scarf,” Vahap Kırmızıgül said.
The police hit the suspect’s head with their pistol grip and cracked his skull, Vahap Kırmızıgül said, and the incident was mentioned in reports. He did not know whether the blow would cause any permanent damage.
Vahap and Serhat Kırmızıgül brought a poshu scarf for Veli Ağbaba, the Malatya deputy of the opposition People’s Republican Party (CHP) in Ankara, and issued a press release there yesterday, Vahap Kırmızıgül said.
“We wanted a deputy to wear the evidence as well. They did not let the poshu scarf through the Parliament building,” he said.
The trials of about 15 other students were also held immediately after Kırmızıgül’s trial yesterday.
Some 500 high school and university students are currently on trial for “membership in a terror organization.”