Arrest warrant lifted for ‘man with machete’

Arrest warrant lifted for ‘man with machete’

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet
Arrest warrant lifted for ‘man with machete’

Sabri Çelebi was seen holding a machete in the footage. DHA Photo

An arrest warrant for a man who chased and kicked Gezi Park protesters in Istanbul last month, popularly known as “the man with the machete,” was lifted Aug. 5, daily Hürriyet revealed Aug. 14.

Istanbul’s 53rd Criminal Court of First Instance lifted the arrest warrant against Sabri Çelebi, who was seen attacking Gezi Park protesters with a machete around Istanbul’s Taksim Square on July 6, at a pre-trial hearing on Aug. 5, where the parties were not present.

Çelebi faces up to 27 years in prison for attacking protesters with the machete, according to the prosecutor’s indictment.

After footage of Çelebi chasing protesters with a machete appeared on the Internet, police detained him, but he was later released by a court, attracting vociferous public criticism, on the grounds that he was not a flight risk. Çelebi, however, boarded a flight for Casablanca on July 10, after which a court issued an arrest warrant for him.

Çelebi postponed his flight back to Turkey on Aug. 13 until an unknown date, Anadolu Agency reported Aug. 13. The same report stated Çelebi had first postponed his return flight on Aug. 10.

Turan Önder, Çelebi’s lawyer, said Çelebi was not returning to the country because he was being threatened.

“His cell phone is off for this reason. We are collecting evidence to file a complaint,” Önder was quoted as saying.