Prosecutor demands football fan group’s acquittal for coup charges
ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
DHA photoA prosecutor has demanded acquittal for 35 members of Beşiktaş football fan group çArşı for charges of plotting and organizing to topple the government during the 2013 Gezi Park protests, while asking for jail sentences for disobeying a law on meetings and demonstrations.
Prosecutor Abdullah Mirza Coşkun, working at Istanbul’s Çağlayan courthouse, said Sept. 11 that there had not been “sufficiently certain and tangible evidence” against the 35 suspects from the çArşı football fan club to charge them with overthrowing the government.
The Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s office had previously prepared an indictment September 2013 to demand life sentences for the Beşiktaş fans for “attempting to overthrow the legally elected government through illegal means.”
However, the prosecutor’s office has failed to provide clear evidence supporting this allegation.
Additionally, police officers participating in the hearings denied the charges and had no complaints against the group. The football fans also denied the charges.
However, prosecutor Coşkun did charge the group with violating the law on meetings and demonstrations and requested jail terms, ranging from one-and-a-half to three years, for all defendants.
Coşkun also asked the court to jail four of them for violating the law on firearm and knife possession.
Several lawyers and defendants requested more time to counter the prosecutor’s allegations. The court ruled to postpone the next hearing to Dec. 29.
A lawsuit was opened against the 35 members of çArşı, when the court accepted Sept. 11, 2014, an indictment charging the suspects with “attempting a coup” against the government. According to the indictment, the çArşı members are accused of attempting to capture the Prime Ministry’s offices in Ankara and Istanbul with the aim of creating an “Arab Spring-like upheaval” to overthrow the government.
The 2013 protests began as an environmental sit-in in Istanbul and quickly spread across the country as anti-government protests over plans to replace Gezi Park in central Istanbul with a shopping mall designed like Ottoman-era military barracks.