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'Radical' French student on bail in Turkey

AFP · 19 Feb 2013, 08:44

Published: 19 Feb 2013 08:44 GMT+01:00

The court in Bursa, northwestern Turkey,  agreed the bail terms immediately after convicting the 21-year-old Sevil Sevimli on Friday.

"I paid her bail to the court today," her lawyer Inayet Aksu said. "She now has the right to leave Turkish territory at any time," he said, adding that the date for her return to France has not yet been set.

Sevimli's friends and supporters hailed the news, indicating that she may return to the central-eastern French city of Lyon, where she studied before arriving in Turkey in early 2012, as early as Wednesday.

Born in France to Turkish Kurd parents, Sevimli was completing a final year of studies in Turkey with Erasmus, an inter-European university exchange programme, at the time of her arrest. She had joined a May Day parade in Istanbul and went on trial in September on charges punishable by up to 32 years in prison. 

Although Sevimli was initially accused of belonging to a terrorist organisation, the court sentenced her to five years and two months in prison for disseminating propaganda on behalf of the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), which is listed as a terrorist group by the United States and the European Union. She has denied the accusations.

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Since the 1970s, the DHKP-C has been behind numerous attacks against the Turkish state that have killed dozens. This month it claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at the US embassy in Ankara that killed a Turkish security guard.

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