Turkish prosecutor wants 6-year terms for students in 2012 protest

Sept. 16, 2013 at 9:22 AM
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ANKARA, Turkey, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- A Turkish prosecutor requested that six-year prison sentences be given to 45 students involved in a violent protest last year .

An indictment against the students alleged they threw Molotov cocktails, water bottles and fireworks at police officers outside of a building at the Middle East Technical University, where Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was watching the launch of a satellite in December, Today's Zaman reported Monday.

Following the incident, Turkish police were criticized for using excessive force against the students, firing pepper gas and water cannons to keep them away from the building.

Erdogan defended the police. He said the protest was violent and the protesters were linked to terror groups.

The 45 students, including one who said he was seriously injured by a tear gas cannister fired at him, were charged with defying a law on demonstrations and preventing police from fulfilling their duties.

The first court hearing in the case is scheduled for Dec. 18.

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