Turkish man sought over attacking woman on bus turns out to already have prison sentence
ISTANBULAn assailant who was being sought by police following a prosecutor’s arrest warrant on June 21 for attacking a 21-year-old woman on a bus in Istanbul turned out to already have a prison sentence, Doğan News Agency has reported.
An Istanbul prosecutor on June 21 issued an arrest warrant for Ercan Kızıltaş, who was caught on camera attacking a university student for “wearing mini-shorts during Ramadan.” The prosecutor reportedly gave its ruling based on charges of “provoking people and inciting them to hatred,” “intentional injury” and “criminal libel.”
But it soon came to light that the assailant was already prisoned over a tax fraud offense.
On June 14, university student Melisa Sağlam was attacked by Kızılateş as he was about to get off a minibus in Istanbul’s Pendik district. The suspect allegedly asked her, “Are you not ashamed to dress this way during Ramadan?” before punching her.
Following the incident, Sağlam filed a legal complaint against her assailant, upon which he was detained three days later on June 17.
Kızılateş defended his case by allegedly saying he was “provoked,” daily Birgün reported. “Women dressing this way affect one’s sensuality,” Kızılateş is reported to have said during his testimony.
Previous media reports following his testimony at the police station said Kızılateş was released pending investigation on the same day. But on June 21, according to newly obtained information, during his testimony, as the police were about the release Kızılateş for the attack on Sağlam they realized that the assailant was already convicted in a “tax offense” case and was being sought to serve three years and nine months in prison. Kızılateş was then sent to prison on those charges.
On June 19, Sağlam, who thought Kızılateş was released, submitted a petition to the prosecutor’s office, condemning the release of the assailant.
“My only wish from the justice system is that an appropriate, dissuasive punishment is given to the assailant. I do not want him to walk around freely because I cannot anymore. I could until now, but since being assaulted I have been unable to go anywhere without my mother. I cannot even get on public transportation,” Sağlam had told daily Hürriyet.
Doğan News Agency contacted the Sağlam family, the father of which condemned Kızılateş.
“[Such people] are hurting society’s values. It is a kind of provocation in itself, said Eyüp Sağlam, a retired teacher.