Bianet's Ayca Soylemez writes about three college students who are being tried for demanding 'free education'. Two of the students, Ferhat Tuzer and Berna Yilmaz, are tried for carrying a banner that read "We want free education and we will get it" during a speech of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the Romani meeting in Istanbul on 14 March 2010. The thirds student, Utku Aykar, is on trial for distributing related leaflets.
The students stand accused of "membership of an illegal organization" according to Article 5 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) on the grounds of their alleged membership in the Party and Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of the Turkish People (DHKP-C) and supposed propaganda for the organization. After 19 months in detention, Tuzer and Yilmaz were released pending trial on 6 October 2011.
The former prosecutor of th case Kasım Ilimlioglu had plead for the release and acquittal of the students at the hearing on 24 May 2011. He evaluated the incident within the scope of freedom of expression as guaranteed by the Constitution. He furthermore claimed that the Constitution also mentioned the possibility of peaceful meetings and demonstrations without arms without prior permission.
However, the new prosecutor Adem Ozcan referred to allegations of "membership in an illegal organization" and demanded prison sentences of between 7.5 and 15 years for the three students in his final speech presented at the Thursday hearing (8 March).
Read the rest of the news report on Bianet.