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Turkish Court Convicts Students

November 9, 1998

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) _ A state security court on Monday found eight university students guilty of belonging to a banned leftist group and sentenced them to prison terms ranging from five to eight years.

Another student received a 10-month prison sentence for making propaganda on behalf of the banned Revolutionary Youth group while three others were acquitted.

In 1996, the students, their ages then ranging from 20 to 25, were arrested for unfurling banners in parliament.

Police said they found firebombs in eight of the students’ homes shortly after their arrests. The students accused police of planting them there.

The defendants were originally sentenced to three to 18 years in prison on charges of terrorism in a case being observed by human rights groups. But an appeals court ordered a new trial in March, asking for more evidence to prove that Revolutionary Youth was a terrorist group.

A lawyer for the students said they would appeal Monday’s ruling.

``We do not believe that the students received a trial by a fair and independent court,″ said attorney Ender Buyukculha.

Some human rights groups have accused Turkey’s security courts, which hear cases deemed to concern national security, of siding with prosecutors and police.

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