May 10, 2012
Late in March, I dedicated a blog entry to the fate of Cihan Kirmizigul, a promising engineering student at Galatasaray University, who had been held for 25 months awaiting trial for an alleged terrorist attack on a market, which was politically motivated. In my words, I stated that:
All evidence and common sense points to the fact that Cihan had nothing to do with the protesters chanting Kurdish slogans, who clashed with police and threw molotov cocktails targeting a neighborhood market. Rather, he was an innocent bystander who happened to be wearing a keffiyeh, one similar to those who committed the attack. With no other evidence linking him to the crime other than the keffiyeh, Cihan has been held for over two years in solitary confinement charged with taking part in an act of terror. All common sense would lead to the simple understanding that that Cihan was at the wrong place at the wrong time...Yes, for this he has been held in a F-type solitary cell. If this Kafkaesque scenario was not enough, the prosecutor has called for a 45-year term sentence, if he is found guilty of the crime …”
Following his last trial, which I reported on, he was released pending trial which took place yesterday. Sadly, the verdict is in: Cihan Kirmizigul will sit in prison for 11 years and 3 months for aiding a terrorist organization, throwing a Molotov cocktail, and causing property damages among other charges. Let us hope that a court will accept an appeal since it seems that the only evidence they can produce was the original reason for keeping him detained for so long; wearing a keffiyeh similar to the perpetrators of the crime. In fact, if I have all the facts right, the only eye-witness who originally testified that he saw Cihan commit the crime, retracted his statement even before his trial in March. Further, it seems that no finger prints or any other evidence has been found connecting Cihan to the crime.
I will end with the words of my former blog that stated that indeed this is a tragedy since:
Cihan was: a serious young aspiring bright student, someone who in normal circumstances should be a poster-boy for Turkey's education system: a youngster of Kurdish origin, from a rural background, that despite all the cards stacked up against him reached the top and integrated into one of Turkey's most prestigious public institutions.
Lets hope that this is not the last we hear of this trial. Certainly, this should worry the AKP led Turkish government since it stands as a stark case of injustice that breaks all conventions of common sense. Yes, if Cihan is guilty let him serve; however, until now it seems that to most that he simply is being held for being at the wrong place at the wrong time, not to mention wearing a keffiyeh and being of Kurdish origin.