Judge to Violate Constitutional Rights in Trial of Bogazici University Students

As the Bogazici resistance marked one year in January 2022, there were protests both in the university and in front of the Silivri Prison in İstanbul in support of students who were taken into custody at Boğaziçi University for protesting the government-appointed rector. The protester chanted: “We, students, are coming. We will free the positions occupied by trustees. We will build our own future away from this rotten mentality.” (1). Before the first hearing began on January 7, 2022, the Academics of Bogazici University made a press statement in front of the Istanbul Çaglayan Courthouse in support of the arrested students. In their statement, they declared:

“Both our students and we, academics, have been facing attempts to make us give up on our rights guaranteed by the Constitution and stay silent despite various oppressive practices that have been carried out for a year."
"Of course, this pressure that we are subjected to is directed towards all types of dissenting opinions and voices. We recall the following truth in the face of this: Science and knowledge cannot be produced in university campuses where there is no freedom of thought and expression, and fundamental rights and freedoms are not respected."
“... We declare that we will not give up on the ideal of a democratic, free and autonomous university or our struggle against the attempts to deprive our students and, thus, the youth of our country, of their future." (2)

Photo credit: Can Candan


In his defense, Bogazici history student Caner Perit Özen said, "We are not only students who are deprived of their right to education or who were beaten. We have a rightful struggle.”, physics student Ersin Berke Gök added, "The torture of rear-handcuffing was committed after leaving the hospital, then came arrest, psychological and physical torture, orders, the medication not given to me when I fell ill as I lost my strength since they did not give food, the courses I could not attend and usurpation of my right to education."

Considering the period they have already spent behind bars, the court board has ruled that Gök and Özen shall be released with an international travel ban and judicial control measures.

At the second hearing held on March 21, 2022, the students' lawyers submitted a formal objection on the grounds that the judges had violated the principle of legal and procedural objectivity by holding a special court hearing to which only the appointed rector attended. The defense lawyers demanded a judicial review of the court’s previous verdict to lift the judicial control measures imposed upon Gök and Özen. Afterward, the judge wanted to expel the students’ lawyer ÖmerKavili, order him out of the courtroom, and replace him with lawyers from the bar association. “Following a verbal argument and the entry of the police and security guards, the judge left the courtroom, and another argument ensued between the members of the parliament” (3) present for the hearing and the police officers, who were trying to take the lawyer Kavili out of the courtroom.