Police officer acquitted of concealing evidence in Gezi victim case
İsmail Saymaz - ISTANBULA local court acquitted a police officer and hotel owner who had deleted a hotel’s security camera footage, which had recorded the fatal beating of a protester during the Gezi Park demonstrations in 2013.
Ali İsmail Korkmaz, 19, was beaten to death by a group of officers and civilians in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir during the 2013 Gezi protests.
During the trial in the Kayseri 3rd Court of Serious Crimes, prosecutor Hasan Ali Erkan said that a person cannot be punished for concealing evidence of a crime he had been tried for. The court acquitted the police officer Hüseyin Engin and hotel owner Erdoğan Gözseçen from charges of concealing the evidence of a crime.
The prosecutor cited an article of Turkish penal code which says: “Any person who destroys, deletes, conceals, changes or corrupts the evidences produced to prove commission of offense in order to hide the truth is punished with imprisonment from six months to five years. A person may not be punished according to the provisions of this article due to an offense personally committed or involved in its commission.”
Engin has been acquitted of the charges “involvement in murder” of a Gezi protester.
On Jan. 21, Mevlüt Saldoğan, the main convict in the killing of Korkmaz, was sentenced to 10 years and 10 months in prison by the Kayseri 3rd High Criminal Court on charges of injuring and causing the death of Korkmaz. He could be granted probation as early as March 2019, as he has already been under arrest for more than 18 months. The public prosecutor in the case has appealed the sentence given to Saldoğan, claiming that he should have been sentenced to life in prison on charges of first-degree murder.
Yalçın Akbulut, a fellow police officer, was also sentenced to 10 years in prison, with a two-year reduction in his sentence for good behavior. He could also be released in six years and two months.
Saldoğan and Akbulut appealed their verdicts on Jan. 23.
Civilians İsmail Koyuncu, Ramazan Koyuncu and Muhammet Vatansever were all sentenced to six years and eight months on charges of assault. Another suspect, Ebubekir Harlar, was released on the basis of various reductions, although he was still sentenced to three years and four months in jail.
Two other police officers, Şaban Gökpınar and Hüseyin Engin, were acquitted.
Saldoğan and other officers are also alleged to have beaten another protester, Tevfik Caner Ertay, with iron rods, not long after administering the fatal blows to Korkmaz, before putting the university student in a trunk to take him to the police station.