France - Turkey

Franco-Turkish student faces trial for far-left group links in Turkey

AFP/Adem Altan

A French-Turkish university student went on trial on Wednesday accused of links to an outlawed far-left group in a case that has sparked criticism from human rights groups.


Sevil Sevimli, who was arrested in May and spent three months in jail until her conditional release in August, appeared in court in the north-western Turkish city
Of Bursa along with five other defendants.

All are accused of colluding with a terrorist group, which could mean 32 years in prison.

"We are here for ridiculous reasons. Hopefully I will be acquitted as soon as possible but I do not think it will happen right away," 20-year-old Sevimli told reporters before the hearing.

She had been forbidden to leave Turkish territory pending her trial. The next hearing is to take place on 19 November.

Prosecutors accuse her of having links to the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), which the United States and the European Union list as a terrorist group.

The DHKP-C has been behind numerous attacks, which have left dozens of people dead, including two retired generals and a former justice minister, since 1976.

A suicide bomber said to be from DHKP-C blew himself up at a police station in Istanbul, killing a police officer and wounding seven other people, on 11 September.

Sevimli was arrested after joining a May Day parade in Istanbul, demonstrating in favour of free education in Turkey and attending a concert by the left-wing band, Grup Yorum.

Born in France to Turkish Kurd parents, Sevimli was arrested while she was in Turkey completing a final year of studies under Erasmus, the inter-European university exchange scheme.

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