* Photograph: Tansu Pişkin - İstanbul / bianet
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Revolutionary Youth Associations (DGD) Secretary General and Istanbul University Department of Sociology student Berkay Ustabaş, who has been behind bars since January 5, 2018, had his fourth hearing at the 26th Heavy Penal Court in İstanbul Courthouse in Çağlayan yesterday (November 1).
Ustabaş, who has been held in the Kırıkkale Type F Prison, attended the hearing via Audio and Visual Information System (SEGBİS).
The court board ruled for the continuation of his arrest.
Berkay Ustabaş has been arrested for 11 months on the ground that he attended the funeral of Berkin Elvan, who lost his life due to a pepper gas cartridge fired by a police officer during the Gezi Resistance in 2013. Adil Kayam and Ali Olcayto Öğretmen have also been arrested as part of the same lawsuit. The other defendants of the case, namely Özgür Arslan and Helin Bölek have also been under arrest on different charges.
"He was arrested for membership, but there is no organization"
Attending the hearing via the SEGBİS system, Berkay Ustabaş said,
"For the last three hearings, I have submitted applications with the demand that I attend my hearings in person; but, I could not receive an answer. I have written five separate petitions. I voluntarily made my deposition though I had not been taken into custody. I did not escape from justice, I was arrested with the suspicion that I could escape.
"Either you release me from prison and I come to the courtroom to make my defense and explain my case file, or, bring me to the hearing."
As reported by Newspaper Yolculuk, his attorney Şenol Kolçak said,
"Most of the things which were referred to as the justification of Berkay Ustabaş's arrest were his rights. Currently, there exists no organization, of which Ustabaş has been charged with being a member. All of the books found in his house were legal, they are even allowed to enter prison."
After the Prosecutor's Office announced its opinion as to the accusations and demanded the continuation of his arrest, the court board ruled, "The arrest of the defendant shall continue for the concretization of evidence."
His next hearing will be held at 2.30 p.m. on January 15, 2019. (AS/SD)
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