Hearing over death of leftist protester Hasan Ferit Gedik canceled for third time

Hearing over death of leftist protester Hasan Ferit Gedik canceled for third time

Hearing over death of leftist protester Hasan Ferit Gedik canceled for third time

Nuray Gedik (R), the mother of the victim, protests the cancelation of the hearing with other demonstrators in front of the Kartal courthouse, Sept. 15. DHA Photo

The trial into the killing of leftist protester Hasan Ferit Gedik by drug dealers was put on hold once again on Sept. 15, the third cancelation of its first hearing.

The court ruled that the courtroom in the Istanbul district of Kartal, which was chosen for the hearing, was not well suited to such a session. It requested that the Justice Ministry move the trial to another courthouse.

The trial was originally postponed for insufficient security measures last month, before being canceled for a second time due to shortcomings in the courtroom two weeks ago.

The case is particularly sensitive as prosecutors have demanded jail terms ranging between 11 and 269 years for 35 suspects, mostly members of drug gangs, who are accused of homicide. Gedik was killed while participating in a demonstration against the activities of drug dealers in the Gülsuyu neighborhood, on Istanbul’s Asian side.

Metin Feyzioğlu, the head of the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB), said it would be impossible to hold a trial in the courthouse’s current conditions.

“The temperature in the courtroom is 40 degrees. These conditions are not adequate for a trial to take place,” said Feyzioğlu, who went to attend the trial.

Despite having only been opened last year, the Kartal courthouse has received a number of complaints regarding its defective planning and construction.

Head Judge Mahir Merdun explained that courtrooms at the building had been assigned for high criminal court cases to be held, adding that a petition had been filed to hold the hearings at the Silivri courthouse, on the far edge of Istanbul’s European side. However, Feyzioğlu criticized the choice of Silivri and called on the Justice Ministry not to move the trial outside of Istanbul on security grounds.

Selçuk Kozağaçlı, the lawyer representing the victim and the head of the Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD), spoke out against moving the trial. “This is shameful, as no court can be asked to work on a subject [irrelevant to the case]. Don’t even think about moving the trial,” he said.

Gezi families at trial

Meanwhile, the mother of Berkin Elvan, a 15-year-old teenager who was killed by a police tear gas canister during the Gezi protest, also attended the trial in support of Gedik’s family.

Volkan Ayvalıtaş, the elder brother of the first demonstrator killed at the Gezi protest, Mehmet Ayvalıtaş, was also present at the hearing.

Gedik’s murder came during a series of violent incidents that occurred due to ongoing conflict between drug dealers and leftist groups in the neighborhood. Since his death, Gedik has been held up as one of the Gezi victims by protestors.