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RIGHTS > Number of students in jail hits 2,824 in Turkey

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An undated handout file picture provided by Elmas Sinem on July 4, 2012 shows Sevil Sevimli, a 19-year-old Franco-Turkish student who was arrested in northeastern Turkey, on May 10, 2012 and detained in Eskisehir, on suspicion of links with an outlawed far-left extremist group. Sevimli, released on August 6, "is placed on probation and banned from leaving Turkey pending the trial to be held on September 26" said the French Foreign Ministry. AFP PHOTO

An undated handout file picture provided by Elmas Sinem on July 4, 2012 shows Sevil Sevimli, a 19-year-old Franco-Turkish student who was arrested in northeastern Turkey, on May 10, 2012 and detained in Eskisehir, on suspicion of links with an outlawed far-left extremist group. Sevimli, released on August 6, "is placed on probation and banned from leaving Turkey pending the trial to be held on September 26" said the French Foreign Ministry. AFP PHOTO

Currently there are 2,824 students in Turkish prisons, recent numbers announced by the Ministry of Justice have revealed.

Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin recently released data in response to main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Manisa deputy Özgür Özel’s parliamentary question regarding how many convicted high school and university students currently imprisoned were under arrest on the charge of “being a member of an armed terrorist organization.”

According to Ergin, 2,824 students have been arrested since Jan. 31, 2012.

Within this number 1,778 students were arrested while the remaining 1,046 were charged but not arrested. Out of those arrested, 609 were arrested for “being a member of an armed terrorist organization,” while 178 students were charged without arrest for the same crime.

The Justice Ministry had no statistical data about the number of students alleged to have relations with more than one illegal organization, Ergin said.

CHP deputy Özel said the number of arrested and convicted students was “terrifying.”

“It is above our estimations. Even the students unfurling banners about free education are charged with [crimes related to] the armed terrorist organizations. The prosecutors trying to create criminals seemed to have achieved that,” Özel said.

Galatasaray University student Cihan Kırmızıgül was arrested for wearing a “poshu” scarf in Kağıthane in Feb. 2010 and was kept under arrest for 25 months. “Since the piece of cloth called poshu was used for the intention of a crime, it is decided on his confiscation according to the Article No: 54 of the Turkish Penal Code,” the court’s verdict for Kırmızıgül read.

August/08/2012

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