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RIGHTS > French gov’t backs student as prosecutor seeks 32 years in jail

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

Lawyer of a French-Turkish student says the French government is closely following the case as a Turkish prosecutor asks up to 32 years of jail time for the suspect

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Sevil Sevimli (C) was arrested on May 10, 2012 in Eskişehir on charges of having links with an outlawed organization. She was released after 86 days in jail. DHA photo

Sevil Sevimli (C) was arrested on May 10, 2012 in Eskişehir on charges of having links with an outlawed organization. She was released after 86 days in jail. DHA photo

Erdem Güneş Erdem Güneş erdem.gunes@hdn.com.tr

A Turkish local court in Bursa has accepted an indictment asking for up to 32 years of jail time in the case of French citizen Sevil Sevimli, while the French government has expressed its support for Sevimli in a letter to her lawyer.

“It is not possible for us to intervene in Turkey’s judicial mechanism, but I will convey the situation to political figures in Turkey. We have given necessary instructions to the French mission in Ankara to follow the case closely,” read the letter written by French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius, Sevimli’s lawyer Sami Kahraman told Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

Fabius also wrote that “Sevil Sevimli is under the auspices of the French government,” Kahraman said.
The letter was sent to the mayor of the town of Belleville in Lyon, France, who sent it on to Kahraman. The chancellor of the French Embassy in Ankara paid a visit to Sevimli after her release.

Debated accusations

The twenty-one-year-old French-Turkish student was arrested in northeastern Turkey on May 10, 2012, and detained in Eskişehir on suspicion of links with the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), which Turkey, the United States and the European Union have listed as a terrorist group. She was released on Aug. 6 with a ban keeping her from leaving Turkey pending the trial in the case, to be held on Sept. 26.

A local Bursa court revealed the indictment which included controversial accusations to support the charge that Sevimli was a “member and administrator of a terrorist organization,” such as that she had “[sold] concert tickets and magazines as financial support for an illegal organization.”

Sevimli, however, denies having any links to the organization, and said she has never acted outside the law.“I was shocked, to be honest, when I learned that the prosecutor asked for 32.5 years in
prison for me. It means a life sentence for me,” Sevimli told Hürriyet Daily News.

Sevimli graduated from the University Lumière Lyon 2’s communications studies department, and has been accepted to continue with her master’s studies in the same department.

“Turkish officials will not let me leave the country because the trail is pending, but I am standing upright; there is nothing to be sorry about. The indictment is just funny,” Sevimli said.The French public and press support her cause, Sevimli said. “A journalist from Le Monde sent me a letter which thrilled me; also my university’s rector called me and said they were backing me up.”

Sevimli spent 86 days imprisoned in an F-type cell, in which prisoners are isolated from others.

August/13/2012

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