Top court charges prosecutor for delay in probe into deadly prison raid
ANKARATurkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals has sentenced a prosecutor charged over delaying an investigation into the “Operation Return to Life” in 2000, in which scores of inmates died after security forces raided 20 prisons across Turkey.
The 5th Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals sentenced Istanbul Public Prosecutor Ali İhsan Demirel to one year in prison for misconduct in office, in its ruling announced on April 8.
Demirel was tried by the top court’s related chamber, as he is a prosecutor and was exempt from the hearing.
President Bahri Demirel of the 5th Criminal Chamber charged Demirel with the maximum penalty (one year imprisonment) and cited Article 257 - (2) of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) due to the way the crime was committed, the significance and value of the issue subject to the crime, the seriousness of damage, the danger that occurred, and the severity of the security forces’ mistakes, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Excluding acts defined as offenses by law, Article 257 – (2) states that any public officer who causes suffering of people or public injury, or secures unjust benefit for others through negligence, or delays the performance of his duties, is punished with imprisonment from three months to one year.
The chamber also ruled that there was no place for a suspension of the sentence.
One of the joint attorneys in the case, Ömer Kavili, argued that Prosecutor Demirel had “actively” committed misconduct, therefore hoping to appeal the ruling and seek a tougher penalty.
The infamous Dec. 19, 2000 operation was an attempt to break the resistance of prisoners on hunger strike in simultaneous raids conducted by over 10,000 security forces members in 20 prisons across Turkey. Inmates were protesting being transferred to F-type (high security, solitary confinement) prisons. By the time the operation was over, 30 prisoners were dead, along with two prison gendarmes.