Homeless man sentenced to house arrest in Istanbul
A homeless man has been sentenced to house arrest for using and selling drugs in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district, Doğan News Agency reported.
Barış Alkan, 31, is not allowed to step outside the boundaries of a confined public area near a city bus station in the Söğütlüçeşme neighborhood because it is listed as his address in court records.
Alkan was detained on April 14 for selling and using drugs and was later referred to court, with the prosecutor demanding his arrest.
The Istanbul Fifth Criminal Court of Peace rejected the arrest demand and ruled for the “application of a judicial control precaution by means of not leaving the premises,” which legally means house arrest.
Oktay Özer, the lawyer assigned by the bar to defend Alkan, said he was surprised by the sentence and appealed the ruling.
“This is not a situation that happened before. Our demands were rejected even though I conveyed my objections verbally and wrote later on. The person is sleeping outdoors. He doesn’t have a residence, but there is a house arrest sentence against him. How is this going to be applied?” Özer said.
Özer added that a similar ruling was given in Italy in 2007.
Alkan, meanwhile, started serving his sentence in the empty area encircled with metal plates near the city bus station. With his phone being confiscated by authorities, the only way to contact Alkan is to roam around Söğütlüçeşme and ask if there’s anyone who knows him.
It is forbidden for Alkan to leave the area, which is also “home” for many drug addicts like himself. The police are on constant duty to prevent him from leaving.
“I don’t have a home address and I’m staying here. Police are stopping me everywhere. If I go out, they say that it’s a ‘crime.’ Even though I don’t have a house, this is a street but I’m under house arrest,” Alkan said.
Both Özer and Alkan are waiting for the hearing of the case.