13-year-old Gezi protester facing prison time for graffiti acquitted
ÇANAKKALE – Doğan News Agency
B.T.İ. (in blue) was acquitted in case that Taksim Solidarity members described as 'child abuse.' DHA photoA 13-year-old boy who was facing up to 16 years in prison for painting graffiti during the Gezi Park Resistance in the northwestern province of Çanakkale was acquitted by a court on Jan. 21.
The secondary school student was facing charges of “damaging public property” for writing “Government resign, death to fascism” on the pavement during protests on June 3, 2013.
The teenager, B.T.İ., attended the hearing on his case for the first time on Jan. 21, as he had missed a previous one due to exams.
Members of the Taksim Solidarity Platform, which initiated the protests against the destruction of the now-iconic park in Istanbul, and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies also attended the hearing in the Çanakkale courthouse.
“What’s happening here is shameful. This is child abuse. This trial will be remembered as a dark stain on our history,” said Mücella Yapıcı, a city planner and one of the most prominent spokespersons of the Taksim Solidarity Platform.
“I hope this child will not have a certain idea about justice. I am attending today as a mother and am ashamed of this,” she said.
The court dismissed the charges, saying there were no grounds for a sentence in the case. The young boy was defended by an almost unprecedented team of 14 lawyers.
The 13-year-old, the youngest to be indicted as part of proceedings against participants in the resistance, had previously said he wanted to imitate other people writing graffiti. He had also explained that he wrote “death to fascism” after understanding during the protests that fascism “was a bad thing.”
The boy’s father, Tamer İ., also slammed prosecutors and judges for launching the investigation, stating, “Doesn’t the Turkish state have anything else to do other than try a 13-year-old boy?” he said.
Seven people, Mehmet Ayvalıtaş, Abdullah Cömert, Ethem Sarısülük, Ali İsmail Korkmaz, Medeni Yıldırım, Ahmet Atakan and Hasan Ferit Gedik, are recognized as the martyrs of the Gezi Park Resistance.