‘I will commit the same crime every day,’ says teen sentenced for joining Gezi protests
İZMİR – Doğan News Agency
Mustafa Ali Tonbul was left permanently injured after a police tear gas canister hit his skull at the protests.
Mustafa Ali Tonbul (R) after his surgery with his father, Mehmet.
Mustafa Ali Tonbul, whose sentence was turned into a fine and will not be executed unless he commits the same offense in the next three years, defiantly said the ruling would not intimidate him from continuing political activism.
“I will commit the same crime every day, because, in my judgment, that is not a crime. We want an equal future with the rich. My friends are also of the same opinion. We will continue to commit that crime,” Tonbul said.
The student, who was left permanently injured after a police tear gas canister hit his skull at the protests, questioned why the protesters who did not use any violence at the demonstrations were convicted while the police officer who fatally injured 14-year-old Berkin Elvan was still free.
“They might not find the officer who injured me, but they know the one who killed Berkin Elvan. Why don’t they put him on trial? Whereas, I haven’t committed any crime and I am the one standing trial. I want the prime minister to answer my questions,” he said.
The İzmir court has refused to change the prison sentence for one of the minors, who will enter prison, unlike Tonbul and three other teenagers.
Tonbul’s father also slammed the “injustice,” stressing his son’s severe head injuries. “This is a tragicomedy. The victim is my son, but he is also the one who is being punished. The one who will face lifelong problems is my son, but the real criminals are running free,” Mehmet Tonbul said.
Turkish courts have given out contradictory rulings regarding similar cases. Many courts have acquitted protesters who had been charged of participating in illegal demonstrations on the grounds that they had used their right to free expression and assembly. But other cases saw convictions and appeals, despite lawyers claiming the lack of evidence about the use of violence by protesters.