A court case has been launched against 12 university students in the province of Antalya on charges of membership in an illegal organization after they sang a song in Kurdish during Nowruz celebrations in the spring of last year, according to local news reports on Tuesday.
Four of the students are currently under arrest, including Devrim Ayık, who is battling colon cancer. The first hearing in the students’ trial has been set for January 2020.
The prosecutor’s indictment noted that the students sang the Kurdish song “Mervano” while celebrating the Nowruz spring holiday last year, celebrations that were held with the permission of the Antalya governorship.
Other evidence listed against the students in the indictment included the fact that they visited a friend who was jailed in an Antalya prison, and that one student had a photo of Hacı Lokman Birlik on his phone. In 2015, Birlik was killed after being dragged by a police vehicle in the predominantly-Kurdish district of Şırnak.