University students who protested Turkish PM face 6 years in jail

University students who protested Turkish PM face 6 years in jail

ANKARA - Hürriyet
University students who protested Turkish PM face 6 years in jail

PM Erdoğan (3rd from left) visited the ODTÜ campus for the launch ceremony of the satellite named “Göktürk-2,” on Dec. 18, 2012.

An Ankara prosecutor has demanded six years in prison for the 45 university students who held a protest against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during the launch ceremony of a Turkish satellite in December 2012.

Ankara’s 14th Criminal Court of First Instance accepted the indictment on Sept. 16, where prosecutors sought six years behind bars for the 45 Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) students. The students are alleged to have violated the “Meetings and Demonstrations Law” and to have “resisted [the police] to prevent [them] from performing [their] duty.”

“It has been understood that a student group of around 400 people, some of whom were not ODTÜ students, threw petrol bombs, soda bottles and marbles, which they took out of their backpacks, at the police who were taking measures. They attacked [the police] with batons and fireworks and set the wood they found on fire,” reads part of the indictment.

Excessive tear gas

Protests were sparked when Erdoğan came to the ODTÜ campus for the launching ceremony of the Turkish satellite named “Göktürk-2” on Dec. 18, 2012. Clashes between students and police took place, in which police used excessive tear gas and pressurized water to disperse the students from marching to the area where the ceremony was taking place.

Barış Barışık, the student who suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and remained in a critical condition for days after being hit by a tear gas capsule that was fired by the police during the protests, was also among the 45 students to be indicted.

Barışık said he was injured due to the police’s shooting by targeting him and that he had filed a complaint against the police. The prosecution office then sent the interrogation file of Barışık and others who had pressed charges against the police’s excessive use of force to the Employee Crimes Investigation Bureau.

The suspects denied the accusations against them by stating that they had “attended the demonstration, which was organized to protest the prime minister’s political implementations, and used their democratic rights.” The trial is set to start on Dec. 18, 2013.

A separate investigation is being conducted into nine students on the grounds of "terrorist connections," according to Article 10 of the Anti-Terror Law.