Sep 06 2018

Students face terrorism charges for following fmr Kurdish party leader on Twitter

Five students from Turkey's Amasya University face up to five years in prison terror charges for their social media activities, the Turkish news site Artı Gerçek reported on Thursday.

During the investigation, police searched the houses of the students but found no solid evidence. Rather, the cases against the students rely on their use of social media platforms.

Evidence of the students’ alleged terror links includes following the Twitter account of Selahattin Demirtaş, the former co-chair of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

Demirtaş is in jail pending trial for alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an outlawed armed group that has fought for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey for decades.

The indictment against the students said they had "shared posts and comments on Facebook and Twitter, to legitimise or encourage violent methods of armed terrorist organisations."

The evidence for terror charges includes social media activities like sharing Kurdish music videos, following Facebook pages of the shuttered İMC television and pro-Kurdish Özgür Gündem newspaper, and following the Twitter accounts of the former HDP deputies Selahattin Demirtaş, Ferhat Encü, Faysal Sarıyıldız and İdris Baluken.

The next hearing will be held in the northern Turkish city of Amasya on November 2018.