Citing security, lawyers ask to lift judicial control of police officer convicted of killing Gezi victim
Mesut Hasan Benli - ANKARA
DHA PhotoLawyers for police officer Ahmet Şahbaz, who shot and killed Ethem Sarısülük as police moved in on protesters in Ankara’s central Kızılay Square on June 1, 2013, asked a local court to remove Şahbaz's judicial control and ban on overseas travel, arguing that these measures have threatened his client’s security.
Under judicial control, Şahbaz is required to give his signature every Friday at a police station where he is residing, the lawyers explained in their appeal to the Aksaray Court of Serious Crimes.
“Implementation of probation is delayed and could not be implemented because of file transfers and correspondences in relation with changes of locations where the client is on duty,” the lawyers said.
“Forasmuch as the client is a police officer and his escape is out of question. Additionally, implementation of judicial control threatens the security of the client who is targeted by terror organizations and about whom there is a protection decision. In the current situation for the client, it is not possible to travel to Şanlıurfa every week to give his signature and this would jeopardize his security as well. The client is a police anyway and is resuming his duty. We ask for lifting of the judicial control decision,” the lawyers said.
Sarısülük died after being hospitalized for more than two weeks, becoming the third protester to be killed at the hands of the police during the protests.
On Sept. 3, 2015, the 6th Court of Serious Crimes in Ankara ordered Şahbaz’s discharge.
Şahbaz had been sentenced to seven years, nine months and 10 days in prison for shooting Sarısülük point blank, but the prosecutor in the case had demanded a far heavier sentence of 26 to 33 years in prison.
The ruling was eventually overturned by the Turkish Supreme Court of Appeals, which argued the officer should be charged with “premeditated murder,” instead of “possible premeditated murder” in light of the evidence presented to the court.
The 6th Court of Serious Crimes also decided to transfer the case to the Aksaray Court of Serious Crimes due to security reasons, following a request by the officer’s lawyer.
Back in 2013, even before the conclusion of the trial process, Şahbaz, who is still on active duty, was reassigned to the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa.
The violent crackdown by police on protesters during the protests that erupted over the redevelopment plans of Istanbul’s Gezi Park triggered an international outcry. But police action was hailed by then-prime minister, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who described it as “heroic.”