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Court continues judicial probation for youth who died on Evros River

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In a development that attracted criticism and brought the situation of the Turkish judiciary under the spotlight once again, a Turkish court decided to keep a judicial probation decision in effect for a university student who lost his life on the Evros River last month while trying to flee Turkey, according to journalist Erk Acarer.

Twenty-one-year-old university student Mahir Mete Kul went missing while trying to flee to Greece via the Evros River as the boat carrying him capsized on March 24. His body was found in the riverbed several days later.

Kul wanted to leave Turkey because he was standing trial on terrorism charges due to his alleged links to a radical leftist organization, known as the Revolutionary Youth (Dev-Genç). Kul was arrested on terrorism charges in 2017, remained behind bars for 10 months and was released from prison pending trial and on judicial probation five months ago. A travel ban was also imposed on the university student, which apparently forced him to seek illegal ways to get out of the country.

Acarer announced from Twitter on Wednesday that the İstanbul court where Kul had been standing trial decided to keep in effect its decision of judicial probation in the latest hearing of the trial on Wednesday.

“They [the Turkish government] have turned the courts into comedy films where conscience has been destroyed. Such a shame,” he tweeted.

Thousands of people have fled Turkey since a failed coup attempt in July 2016 following which the Turkish government launched a massive crackdown on non-loyalist citizens under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. Most of these people are followers of the Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding the coup attempt.

The movement strongly denies any involvement.

During these risky journeys, mostly by way of the Evros River or from Turkey’s Aegean coast, tragedies have taken place and dozens of people have perished on their way to Greece in capsize incidents.

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