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Court frees police officers in Gazi riot killings case

HDN | 3/4/2000 12:00:00 AM |

A criminal court in Trabzon acquits 18 policemen, and two others are freed because of time served Turkish human rights activists condemn the verdicts Ankara - Turkish Daily News Eighteen Turkish policemen out of the 20 originally detained following the 1995 public uprising in the Gazi district of Istanbul on charges of killing a total of nine people were acquitted by the Trabzon Criminal Court. Two others were set free because of time already served during the trial process. The court sentenced one

  • A criminal court in Trabzon acquits 18 policemen, and two others are freed because of time served
  • Turkish human rights activists condemn the verdicts
  • Ankara - Turkish Daily News

    Eighteen Turkish policemen out of the 20 originally detained following the 1995 public uprising in the Gazi district of Istanbul on charges of killing a total of nine people were acquitted by the Trabzon Criminal Court. Two others were set free because of time already served during the trial process.

    The court sentenced one of the 20 policeman, Adem Albayrak, to 96 years in jail for the killings of four people in the Gazi riots. His sentence was then reduced to six years in view of the fact that the victims had been acting illegally at the time, and also because the officer had voluntarily surrendered. The sentence was eventually reduced to time served, and a suspension from public service for four-and-a-half months.

    Mehmet Gundogan, another of the 20, was sentenced to 48 years in jail for the killings of Zeynep Poyraz and Mumtaz Kaya, but that sentence was also reduced to three years and four months in jail due to "extenuating circumstances." His sentence, too, was eventually reduced to time served, plus a suspension from public service for two-and-a-half months. The other 18 suspects were all released due to lack of evidence.

    Remzi Kazaz, the lawyer for Albayrak and Gundogan, said that they would appeal against the ruling by the court. Later on, he added, they would also apply to the European Court of Human Rights. Turkey's leading human rights group also condemned the decision.

    The riots had broken out after unknown gunmen shot dead two people in a coffee house frequented by Alevis, a liberal Muslim minority sometimes at odds with the majority Sunni Muslims.

    The Eyup Chief Public Prosecutor Office's in Istanbul originally opened a case against the policemen based on Articles no 448, 456, 457 and 463 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). They were accused of killing nine people and wounding five others during the Gazi riots of March 12-13, 1995.

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