Trial over leopard killed in Diyarbakır kicks off with a Greenpeace member judge
DİYARBAKIR – Doğan News Agency
The shepherd who shot the animal alleges that he opend fire after it suddenlt attacked his cousin. DHA PhotoA trial over the killing of a rare leopard in the southern province of Diyarbakır has started, with the judge a member of Greenpeace.
The animal shot by a shepherd last November was first thought to be an Anatolian Leopard, a species long believed to be extinct despite rumors that new specimens were seen in the mountains in southeastern Turkey.
But a post-mortem inspection on the feline showed that it belonged to the Persian family of leopards.
The incident had brought attention to the species in danger of extinction and a lawsuit was filed against the shepherd, Mahmut Kaplan, who argued that he shot the animal after it suddenly attacked his cousin from the back.
The judge Ömer Aykut Özdoğan accepted every petition from several associations that asked to become a party in the trial, including the animal rights commissions of Antalya, Gaziantep and Ankara Bar Associations and the Foundation to Protect Natural Life. Özdoğan added that he was himself a member of Greenpeace to soothe protests from defense lawyers.
The defendants maintained that the animal had attacked them, while a lawyer from an animal rights commission ruled out such a possibility, underlining it would “have been impossible to survive to a leopard attack.”
The judged ruled for more inspection on the area where the leopard was killed to investigate the possibility that the animal could have been previously sighted in the region and both shepherds were looking to hunt it.