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RIGHTS > French student files complaint against Turkish ministry over Gezi detainment

Ayşegül USTA ISTANBUL / Hürriyet

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Elisa Marianne Couvert had studied at Galatasaray University two years ago as part of the Erasmus exchange program.

Elisa Marianne Couvert had studied at Galatasaray University two years ago as part of the Erasmus exchange program.

A 24-year-old French student who was deported after being detained by the police during the Gezi Park protests in Istanbul on June 11, 2013, has filed a complaint against the Turkish Finance Ministry for wrongful detention, as well as violations against her freedom, security and right to assembly. 

Elisa Marianne Couvert filed a criminal complaint at the Istanbul High Criminal Court and demanded 50,000 Turkish Liras from the Finance Ministry for the alleged violations of her rights during her custody.

“I waited at the Kumkapı Foreigners Deportation Center for eight days under harsh conditions for the execution of the decision on my deportation,” said Couvert in her complaint. 

Couvert, who studied at Galatasaray University two years ago as part of the Erasmus exchange program, was detained June 11, 2013 while taking refuge in a Socialist Democracy Party (SDP) branch during a police attack on Taksim during the Gezi resistance. 

Couvert claimed she knew nothing of the SDP – a legal party that is a fierce critic of the government – or of the building before she took shelter there from a barrage of police tear gas with about 30 others. 

The student remained in custody for four days, where she was questioned about her relation to the SDP and was accused of being a French spy.

Couvert was also asked to give a detailed account of her life in Turkey, including the thesis she was currently writing, and was treated “as a terrorist” despite entering the building simply by chance. Her residence permit was also canceled prior to deportation without any official statement provided.

February/12/2014

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