Having protested against Melih Bulu, the then appointed rector of Boğaziçi University, nine people started standing trial yesterday (October 20).

After President and Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appointed Bulu by a Presidential decision on January 2, 2021, the constituencies of the university protested this decision.

Detained in one of these protests against Bulu's appointment and police violence against the students at the campus, nine people now face 6 months to 11 years in prison for protesting in İstanbul's Kadıköy.

Accused of "damaging police vehicles by stones and kicks", "attacking security forces with the aim of preventing them from fulfilling their duty" and "setting up barricades by toppling garbage containers," seven of the nine defendants in total, together with their lawyers, stood before the judge at the İstanbul Anadolu 60th Criminal Court of First Instance yesterday.

Defendants dismissed the charges

The defendants, in their statements of defense, said that they did not accept the offenses charged.

In his defense at court, defendant Necmettin Erdem said that he was in Kadıköy on the day of the incident, he joined the protest after hearing about it, he did not have anything on him that could be considered a weapon and he did not carry out a bad attack against anyone.

Defendant Akın Karakuş also told the court board that he went to Kadıköy upon the calls that he had seen on social media, adding that he did not attempt to damage public property during the protest and, therefore, he did not accept the offense charged against him.

Ozan Can Çolak also said that he saw on the Internet that a protest would be held on the day of the incident and that was how he went to Kadıköy. He stated that he attended the protest personally and with his own will, adding that he had no ties with any organization or association and he was in the protest site for peaceful purposes.

Murat Can Demirci, another defendant, said that he lives in Kadıköy's Moda, the protest happened while he was on his way home, he did not throw stones at the police vehicles, he did not want to join the protests and he found himself in the incidents without wanting it.

The defendants' lawyers requested their clients' acquittal.

Judicial control measures lifted

Handing down its interim ruling, the court board has ruled that the Governor's Office of İstanbul, on behalf of the Interior Ministry, shall be added to the file as a complainant on the grounds of the damage to the police vehicle of the İstanbul Security Directorate and the documents as to whether the damage caused by the incident have been eliminated be requested.

The court board has also ruled that the international travel ban on seven defendants who attended the hearing shall be lifted. The trial has been adjourned until a later date so that the deficiencies can be rectified.