Turkish prosecutors have asked for a prison sentence of 21 years for Sevil Sevimli, a young French student of Turkish origin who was participating in an exchange program at Anadolu University in Eskişehir.During a hearing at a local court in nearby Bursa, prosecutors accused the 21-year-old student of being a “member of an armed organization” and “spreading propaganda.” Along with Sevimli, prosecutors also asked for jail terms of 21 years for four other students: Burcu Akın, Ceren Cevahir, Kezban Yıldırım and Seren Özçelik. Charges in the indictment against the five students included participation in Labor Day demonstrations, unfurling a banner on which “We want free education” was written and watching a concert by Grup Yorum, a left-wing band. The court also maintained the travel ban placed on Sevimli, who was held in custody for three months prior to the approbation of a conditional release.
“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 the hearing. Sevimli’s lawyer, İnayet Aksu, asked the court to lift the travel ban, arguing that it impeded the continuation of Sevimli’s studies.
Sevimli graduated from University Lumière Lyon 2’s communications studies faculty and has been accepted to a master program in the same department.