Court releases 2 Boğaziçi students from pre-trial detention in case involving Kaaba poster

An İstanbul court has released two Boğaziçi University students from pre-trial detention in the first hearing of a case in which they, along with five other defendants, face jail terms of between one and three years due to the display of a poster depicting the Kaaba with LGBT flags amid ongoing protests at the university due to its pro-government rector. According to Turkish Minute, Seven students from the university who are accused of “publicly degrading the religious values of a segment of the public” by way of the display of the poster that shows the Kaaba in Mecca, the holiest site in Islam, with believers across the world praying in its direction, on Wednesday presented their defense before a judge. The poster placed a mythical half-woman, half-snake creature found in Middle Eastern folklore at the Kaaba along with the flags of LGBT, lesbian, trans and asexual people, with the text below saying that the artwork was a critique of traditional gender roles. The first hearing of the trial took place at the İstanbul 21st Criminal Court of First Instance on Wednesday, with a number of students, nongovernmental organization representatives and politicians gathering in front of the Çağlayan Courthouse in İstanbul’s Şişli district to show support for the students on trial.