State’s Human Rights body criticizes police and court over ‘losing evidence’
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Festus Okey was detained by Beyoğlu police on Aug. 20, 2007, on suspicion of carrying drugs. He was killed by police officer Cengiz Yıldız on the same night. Hürriyet photoImportant evidence in cases against the police cannot be reached because of the police itself, the Istanbul Governor’s Office’s Human Rights Committee has said, after revealing the violations of the police in the murder case of Nigerian refugee Festus Okey.
Lawyer Kaya Kartal, a member of the human rights committee which prepared the report, said accessing the footage of city cameras (MOBESE) or police station cameras was not easy in such cases.
“Camera footage gets lost. This is what the prosecutors in such cases are told, but our job is not to search for an intention behind such losses. We simply say there is such a problem and it must be averted,” Kartal said in an interview with the Hürriyet Daily News.
“Camera records are being lost in cases against the police. In this case, take serious measures not to lose it,” read the committee’s report, which was revealed by daily Radikal today.
Nigerian refugee Festus Okey was murdered by a police bullet in Istanbul in 2007 after being detained as a drug suspect, since then the case has continued slowly.
“Even the incident happened is controversial. It is obvious that an individual who was under the state’s protection died. There is no doubt that the right to life was violated,” the report read.
It also slammed the court, which spent four years simply revealing the real name of Okey.
The right to life, freedom, fair trial, and security were violated by the police, read the report, which was sent to the Prime Minister’s Office, the Istanbul police, and the Istanbul Governor’s Office.
The human rights body accused police of losing the most important evidence by not detaining the suspect, detaining Okey without a health check, using the lawyer-suspect meeting room as a detention room, and falsifying.
The case history
Festus Okey was detained by Beyoğlu police on Aug. 20, 2007, on suspicion of carrying drugs. He was killed by police officer Cengiz Yıldız on the same night.
The Istanbul 21th High Criminal Court convicted Yıldız on Dec. 13, 2011 to four years and two months in prison for involuntary manslaughter.
One of the three judges, Keskin Karakurt, objected to the verdict, and demanded 20 years imprisonment for Yıldız. With the support of the prosecutor, the case was then taken to the Supreme Court of Appeals.
With the case continuing, the Okey family’s lawyer, Alptekin Ocak, applied to the Human Rights Administration of the Prime Minister’s Office on Nov. 9, 2011, in order to request a further investigation into the murder.
The Prime Minister’s Office conveyed the case to the Istanbul Governor’s Office’s Human Rights Committee, which formed a four member commission on April 30, 2012.
The commission yesterday published its report and sent it to both the Istanbul Police department and the court hearing the case.