Court releases 19 detained during Ankara protests

Court releases 19 detained during Ankara protests

Court releases 19 detained during Ankara protests

DAILY NEWS photo / Selahattin SÖNMEZ

An Ankara court released 19 people detained by the police on Oct. 28 during the protests of the trial in the killing of Gezi demonstrator Ethem Sarısülük by a local police officer at the beginning of June, Anadolu Agency reported.

The court decided to release 19 people, including two minors, who were sent to court for allegedly breaking the doors and windows of the courthouse in Ankara during Ethem Sarısülük’s murder trial on Oct. 28.

The tension triggered outside the courthouse when the court ruled that police officer A.Ş., who shot the 26-year-old Sarısülük to death in Ankara’s Güvenpark on June 2, could give his testimony via an audio-visual conference system on the grounds that he had been appointed to the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa. The court also refused the Sarısülük family’s lawyer’s demands that A.Ş. be arrested, reasoning that he was not a flight risk and would not be able to tamper with evidence.

Kazım Bayraktar, the family’s lawyer, criticized the court ruling and claimed the officer should be tried for “intentional homicide,” reminding that three separate reports indicated that A.Ş. did not use self-defense.

Hundreds of demonstrators wearing Sarısülük masks gathered in front of the courthouse, carrying banners reading, “Ethem Sarısülük is immortal,” but tensions erupted outside the courthouse when the ruling was heard outside. The police used a substantial amount of tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd when some protestors began demonstrating.

Police dispersed another group of protestors with tear gas and a water cannon when they attempted to block traffic on Atatürk Boulevard in front of the courthouse.

Some protestors who were injured in the police attack were taken to hospital by ambulance, as police chased protestors who escaped toward Kızılay Square, taking 18 of them into custody.