Court acquits 26 Gezi protesters, including Taksim Solidarity Platform members
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
DHA PhotoAn Istanbul court on April 29 acquitted 26 people, including prominent members of the Taksim Solidarity Platform, who had been detained during the Gezi Park protests in the summer of 2013.
Istanbul’s 33rd Criminal Court of First Instance acquitted those who faced three years in prison on charges of “violating the law on meetings and demonstrations,” as well as five members of the Taksim Solidarity Platform – Mücella Yapıcı, Ali Çerkezoğlu, Beyza Metin, Ender İmrek and Haluk Ağabeyoğlu – who faced 13 years in jail for “forming an organization with the aim to commit crime.”
Yapıcı, who is the co-chair of the Chamber of Architects’ Environmental Impact Assessment Board, and Çerkezoğlu, the secretary general of the Istanbul Medical Chamber (ÇED), were taken into custody on July 8, 2013 along with 50 other protesters. They were detained after staging a demonstration during the reopening of Gezi Park, after it was sealed off by the police for three weeks.
The court ruled that the suspects’ acts were not determined as offenses in the law and thus ruled for their acquittal.
Speaking to the media after the court reached its verdict, Yapıcı said they had reached the end of an “unlawful trial.”
“The righteousness of the Taksim Solidarity Platform has been proven,” said Yapıcı, also vowing that the platform would be heading to Istanbul’s Taksim Square for the May 1 Labor Day protests.
The Istanbul Governor’s Office last week barred the square from being used as a venue for the May Day celebrations, setting the stage for another tear-gas flavored showdown.
Meanwhile, the trial of the Turkish journalist and anchorwoman Sedef Kabaş, who faces up to five years in prison for posting a tweet calling on citizens to “not forget” the name of the judge who dropped the Dec. 17, 2013 corruption probe into high-profile names and former cabinet members, will be held at Istanbul’s Çağlayan Courthouse on April 30, starting at 11:00 a.m.