The legal case against Kırmızıgül, an industrial engineering student at İstanbul's Galatasaray University, is popularly known as the “poşu” case. A poşu is a traditional type of Kurdish scarf that is often seen as a political symbol and which many associate with the PKK. The young man was accused of being a PKK member because he was in Kağıthane, a district of İstanbul, wearing a poşu when a group of similarly dressed youngsters, allegedly PKK sympathizers, attacked a market with Molotov cocktails in 2010.
The İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court initially sentenced Kırmızıgül to 33 years, nine months in prison on charges of PKK membership, possession of explosives and causing damage to private property, but later reduced his sentence to 11 years, three months. Kırmızıgül denied the charges leveled against him during the trial. “I reject the accusations directed at me in the indictment. I thank my friends and professors who have supported me so far. I demand my release,” he said.
The court later said in its 17-page reasoned decision that Kırmızıgül made conflicting statements regarding the details of the Molotov attack. “The suspect gave contradictory statements to the court concerning the incident and the aftermath of the incident,” the reasoned decision said.
The court's decision ignored Kırmızıgül's defense statements he made during his trial and cited a secret witness's testimony as evidence for its ruling. The witness stated in testimony he gave at a police station in February 2010 immediately after the incident that he saw Kırmızıgül throwing a Molotov cocktail at the market and that his face was disguised by a poşu. However, the same witness stated at a hearing held on March 4, 2011, that the person he testified against at the police station was not the man he saw on the day of the hearing. The court accepted the witness's first testimony, claiming that “the witness's identification of the suspect after the incident at a police station is more reliable as it was closer to the time of the incident,” adding that the suspect had changed in appearance over the year between the witness's testimony at the police station and the hearing.
The reasoned decision also touched upon records of phone calls Kırmızıgül made on the day of the incident. The court said some of the individuals who Kırmızıgül talked to on the phone between Jan. 1, 2010, and Feb. 21, 2010, were PKK members and involved in crimes on behalf of the terrorist organization.
Kırmızıgül had been in prison for 25 months until he was released pending trial in late March of this year. The young man was sentenced last week to 11 years in jail.