20 police officers to testify in killing of teenager Berkin Elvan during Gezi protests

20 police officers to testify in killing of teenager Berkin Elvan during Gezi protests


Twenty police officers must testify in the killing of Berkin Elvan, a 14-year-old who died after being shot by a tear gas canister by police during the Gezi Park Protests in 2013, an Istanbul court ruled on Dec. 13.

The police officers on duty in the riot police department at the time of the incident will testify as witnesses, the Istanbul 17th Heavy Penal Court ruled during the fourth hearing of the case, in which a police officer, identified only by his initials as F.D., is being tried without arrest.

Elvan was gravely wounded on June 16, 2013, after being shot by a tear gas canister and died in the hospital on March 11, 2014.

F.D. attended the hearing via the voice and video communications system (SEGBİS) from the eastern province of Van.

Elvan’s mother, Gülsüm Elvan, his father, Sami Elvan and his sister, Özge Elvan, are the plaintiffs in the case.

After the footage of the suspect firing his tear gas canister towards Elvan was screened, Gülsüm Elvan fainted and was taken out of the courtroom.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer Can Atalay said a four-minute difference lay between the “enhanced footage” provided by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) and the original footage, adding that the missing part must also be examined.

Another one of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, Çiğdem Akbulut, demanded F.D.’s arrest.

While the court board rejected the lawyer’s demand to arrest the suspect, it ordered the 20 riot police officers on duty at the time of the incident to testify in court. The case was adjourned to Feb. 27, 2018.

In another case regarding a Gezi victim, the Court of Cassation had ruled to increase the police officer’s sentence.

The court’s first penal chamber said the sentence handed to police officer Ahmet Şahbaz for killing Ethem Sarısülük was too lenient.

Şahbaz had previously been sentenced to a year and four months in jail by the Aksaray First Heavy Penal Court for killing Sarısülük during Gezi protests in Ankara. The sentence was later commuted to a fine of 10,100 Turkish Liras, prompting Sarısülük family’s lawyer Murat Yılmaz to appeal the decision.

The Court of Cassation consequently reversed the ruling, stating that the sentence must be in line with the upper limit rather than the lower one.