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On 4 January, at least 45 students were detained following a peaceful protest at Boğaziçi University. Nine people are in pre-trial detention and 27 others are under house arrest.

Many students have alleged torture or other ill-treatment by law enforcement officers. Some LGBTI+ students have said they were threatened with rape and subjected to insults.

Email the Turkish authorities to investigate these allegations and immediately and unconditionally release all those detained in pre-trial detention or house arrest for simply exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

Release detained Boğaziçi protestors

What's happening?

On 1 January Professor Melih Bulu was appointed as the rector of Boğaziçi University in Istanbul. Following this announcement, on 4 January, a group of students held an overwhelmingly peaceful protest at the entrance of the campus. Professor Melih Bulu is a member of the ruling Justice and Development Party who once stood as a candidate in parliamentary elections. The students regard the appointment as a move by Erdogan to curtail academic freedoms, and are demanding the right for the university to elect its own rector. 

Law enforcement officials used tear gas and water cannons indiscriminately to disperse the largely peaceful protestors, and some students were dragged on the floor, beaten and briefly detained.

At least 45 students were detained and allegedly subjected to torture and other ill-treatment. One student was allegedly hit on the head with a police helmet and another reported that officers held a gun to their head soon after they entered the house. At least eight students said they were forcibly strip searched, some more than once, while two LGBTI+ students were allegedly threatened with rape with a truncheon and verbally abused.

The situation now

Nine people, the majority university students, are in pre-trial detention and 27 others are under house arrest in Turkey for participating in the protests. 

Email the Turkish authorities and call on them to immediately and unconditionally release all those detained in pre-trial detention or house arrest for simply exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

They should drop all criminal investigations against the protestors and investigate the allegations of torture and other ill-treatment by law enforcement officials and bring those responsible to justice.