Murder suspect remains silent in fifth hearing into death of Gezi protester Sarısülük
Policeman A.Ş. is accused of shooting dead Sarısülük during a clash between police and protesters in Ankara’s Kızılay Square on June 2, 2013, at the beginning of the Gezi Park protests. AA PhotoThe fifth hearing into the death of Gezi Park protester Ethem Sarısülük was held in Ankara on May 26.
The murder suspect, police officer A.Ş., was transferred to the court house amid high security measures. For the first time, the officer chose not to resort to a wig or a fake moustache to conceal himself, and his face was displayed on a screen in the court room, according to daily Radikal.
A.Ş. is accused of “killing a person by unintentionally exceeding the limits of self-defense, due to excusable circumstances.”
The officer reportedly said he would use the right to remain silent.
The policeman is accused of shooting dead Sarısülük during a clash between police and protesters in Ankara’s Kızılay Square on June 2, 2013, at the beginning of the Gezi Park protests.
In a video played to the court, the suspect is heard saying, “I pulled out [my gun] and fired off three shots,” after returning to police lines in the wake of the shooting. A.Ş. claimed he was forced to defend himself in targeting Sarısülük because protesters were throwing stones, his lawyer said, asking the court to dismiss the charges.
Meanwhile, the victim’s mother, Sayfi Sarısülük, shouted at A.Ş., calling him a murderer.
“Look this way, into my eyes. Tell me how you did it to my face. My son lies in the grave, but you are wandering around, murderer!” she said.
Court officials also warned people in the room not to post tweets while in camera.
The suspect’s lawyer asked the court to hold a closed hearing but Sarısülük’s family has appealed it.
The judges in the case also rejected demands from the victim’s lawyers that A.Ş. be arrested, but added that he could be arrested if he failed to appear for hearings.
The decision enraged Sarısülük's family, prompting gendarmes to allegedly assault the victim's friends and family.
The next hearing of the case will be held July 7.
Family members, lawyers and main opposition deputies also criticized the massive gendarmerie presence in the court, with Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Aylin Nazlıaka saying “there was no place to breathe” due to all the police.
Sarısülük is one of eight protesters killed in clashes after the Gezi Park protests turned into nationwide anti-government rallies after a heavy-handed police attack on a peaceful sit-in against a plan to renovate Taksim one year ago.