French student sentenced to five years in prison in Turkey
ESKİŞEHİR – Doğan News Agency
French-Turkish student Sevil Sevimli. DHA photo
Sevil Sevimli, a young French student of Turkish origin who was participating in an exchange program at Anadolu University in Eskişehir, was convicted to over five years in prison today for “making terrorist propaganda" by the Bursa regional court.
Prosecutors accused the 21-year-old student, who was sentenced to a total of five years, two months and 15 days in jail, of being a “member of an armed organization” and “spreading propaganda.”
Sevimli wants ‘to return to France’
The young student’s lawyer, İnayet Aksu, told reporters that they would appeal the ruling in the Supreme Court, adding that they were hoping reforms included in the so-called “fourth judicial package” submitted by Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin to Parliament might produce another outcome during her appeal.
Aksu said Sevimli had not been to court because of her mother’s illness. “I called Sevil and transmitted her the sentence. She told me that she wants to return to France as soon as possible,” said Aksu.
The court also ordered the lifting of Sevimli’s travel ban after the payment of 10,000 liras in bail.
The French consul general to Istanbul, Hervé Magro, reiterated after the ruling their confidence in Turkey’s justice system. “The lifting of Sevil’s travel ban is good news. But we will evaluate the sentence together with her family,” he said.
Charges in the indictment against her included participation in May Day demonstrations, unfurling a banner on which “We want free education” was written and watching a concert by Grup Yorum, a left-wing band.
“I am leftist [and] socialist. There’s nothing to refuse. I defend democracy and equality. You may call us ‘terrorist’ just because we went to that concert of Grup Yorum, but you know very well who the real terrorists are: Those who exploit the people,” Sevimli told reporters after a hearing on Jan. 16.
Sevimli graduated from University Lumière Lyon 2’s communications studies faculty and has been accepted to a master program in the same department.
Meanwhile, Seren Özçelik was also sentenced to four years and nine months in prison on the same charges as Sevimli in the same case. Burcu Akın, Ceren Cevahir, Kezban Yıldırım and Mustafa Erdal Harman were acquitted on all charges.