Published: 08 Aug 2012 10:44 GMT+02:00 | Print version
Updated: 08 Aug 2012 10:44 GMT+02:00
A French-Turkish student detained in Turkey for nearly three months on suspicion of links to an outlawed far-left extremist group said Tuesday the case against her is "rubbish".
Sevil Sevimli, who was arrested on May 10 and imprisoned until being released on Monday, said in a phone interview with AFP that she has been ordered to stay in Turkey pending her September 26 trial, confirming an earlier statement from the French foreign ministry.
Speaking by cell phone from the city of Eskisehir in north-east Turkey, where she had been in jail, the 20-year-old condemned the case against her.
"It's as if everything were planned from the start, as if it were a film," she said.
Arrested with five others, she is accused of colluding with a terrorist group, a crime that can carry a penalty of up to 12 years in prison.
Her lawyer said in June she was accused of attending a May Day parade and a concert by Yorum, a band known to have a socialist ideology.
He said police suspect her of having links with the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), which the United States and the European Union have listed as a terrorist group.
Since 1976, the DHKP-C has been behind numerous attacks against the Turkish state that have left dozens dead, including two retired generals and a former justice minister.
"The questions they ask me are always the same, like 'Did you go to that concert on May 1,'" Sevimli said.
"The things they are accusing us of are completely legal and democratic, we have nothing to be afraid of. We're just waiting."
She called the case "rubbish" and said students are often arrested in Turkey over their political beliefs.
A committee formed to support Sevimli had on Monday announced her release.
France's foreign ministry clarified Tuesday that she was "freed on conditional release and banned from leaving Turkey".
The case has created diplomatic tensions between Paris and Ankara.
"France continues to follow attentively Sevimli's situation and remains fully mobilised to offer her the support she might need," foreign ministry deputy spokesman Vincent Floreani told journalists.
The announcement comes after Sevimli's supporters voiced concern over her health on Saturday and said they had sent a petition with more than 13,000 signatures to French officials calling for her release.
Born in France to Turkish Kurd parents, Sevimli was arrested in Turkey while she was in the country completing a final year of studies using Erasmus, the inter-European university exchange scheme.
For months the people of the tiny seaside hamlet of Larmor-Baden in Brittany have been living in fear as a serial arsonist has burned down properties at will. On Wednesday French police appeared to have made a breakthrough. READ () »
Flash floods in south west France claimed their second victim on Wednesday when a 75-year-old man was swept away to his death in the raging waters. The flooded Catholic shrine of Lourdes was like 'a scene from a disaster movie' according to one hotel owner. READ () »
As temperatures rise and the rains fall continue to fall, concerns in France have turned to the country’s surging mosquito population. A new interactive map looks set to give residents and holiday-makers a head start in avoiding those nasty mossie bites. READ () »
A reptile enthusiast died after being bitten by a viper during a demonstration in southern France, which was aimed to help audiences overcome their fear of snakes. The man died from a heart attack due to a rare allergy, his colleague told The Local. READ () »
A suspected member of the notorious Pink Panther gang of international jewel thieves has been arrested near Paris, police sources told AFP on Wednesday. READ () »
Two of France's most famous luxury brands look set for a bitter court battle after deluxe bag maker Hermès accused the Louis Vuitton group LVMH of "historic fraud", as a long running bitter feud took a new twist on Wednesday. READ () »
French airline company Air France confirmed on Wednesday a multi-billion euro order of Airbus's new A350 planes. The planes are not yet in service and only recently carried out a test flight (see video). READ () »
The days of the rude Paris waiter or shopkeeper may soon be over. As part of a new campaign, Paris tourism chiefs published a training manual this week aimed at teaching Parisians who come into contact with tourists how to offer them a better welcome. READ () »
The historic Catholic pilgrimage site of Lourdes in south west France was evacuated on Tuesday after flash floods hit the area. Management at the shrine have told The Local they are growing increasingly concerned as waters continue to rise. READ () »
As a provocative new anti-smacking video campaign by the Fondation pour l'Enfance (Foundation for Childhood) causes a stir in France, the man behind the drive Dr. Gilles Lazimi tells The Local why France needs a law banning parents from smacking their kids. READ () »