Turkey charges 5 students with terrorism for following pro-Kurdish HDP’s former leader on Twitter

Five students from Turkey’s Amasya University face up to five years in prison on terrorism charges stemming from their social media activities, according to a report by online news outlet Artı Gerçek on Thursday.

As part of an 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 terrorist links includes following the Twitter account of Selahattin Demirtaş, the former co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). Demirtaş is in jail pending trial for alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The indictment claimed the students had “shared posts and comments on Facebook and Twitter to legitimize or encourage violent methods of armed terrorist organizations.”

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

The next hearing will be held in the northern Turkish city of Amasya in November 2018. (SCF with Ahval)

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