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French student to sue Turkey over Taksim protest arrest

Taksim protesters prepare for a police assault
Taksim protesters prepare for a police assault RFI/Marc Etcheverry

A French student is to press charges against the Turkish government for her arbitrary arrest during last June’s protests on Istanbul's Taksim Square and the allegedly harsh conditions of her detention.

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Elisa Couvert, 24, claims she was "treated like a terrorist" and is now taking a case to Istanbul’s High Criminal Court for arbitrary detention and obstruction of freedom.

The story dates back to 11 June 2013, a few days after the beginning of the Taksim Square uprising in Istanbul.

Couvert, who was then a student at the Galatasaray University on a study-abroad programme, was trying to escape riot police who were charging protesters when she took refuge in the Socialist Democracy Party (SDP ) headquarters.

There, she was arrested, along with a dozen other people, and detained for four days.

Accused of being a spy for France and questioned about her political affiliations, the young woman was later transferred to a detention centre for foreigners in Kumkapi.

She spent eight days in the detention centre, in what she describes as inhumane conditions before being finally deported back to France on 24 June last year.

Elisa Couvert is now claiming 50,000 Turkish pounds (16,000 euros) in damages for violation of her rights during her detention.

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