12 March 2020
Eighteen students and one academic from the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey, who are standing trial for organising METU Pride last year, have been told they will have to wait a further four months for their case to return to court.
The case was first heard in November 2019 but adjourned until today so that the court could request ‘further information’. Today in court, the METU Pride activists were shocked to see that a film showing police attacking people had been edited to ‘make it appear that the police were trying to appease the students, even though they attacked them’.
The defendants’ legal team contested the prosecution’s expert report, and the case has now been adjourned to 10 July 2020. Further reports from experts on European case law and LGBTI Pride events will now be prepared.
Kristine Garina, President of European Pride Organisers Association (EPOA), said:
“Organising a Pride event where people celebrate love, acceptance and equality is not a crime and no-one should ever face a court of law for doing so. Turkish authorities must accept that they have got this wrong, and drop the case, ending this ongoing misery and uncertainty for a group of brave human rights activists. I will again be writing to political leaders in Turkey to demand they acquit all 19 defendants.”
EPOA is in contact with the activists and will continue to provide support.