Deaf-mute woman becomes suspect in case into Kobane protests that left her paralyzed
İsmail Saymaz – ISTANBULA deaf-mute woman, who was paralyzed during the Kobane street protests in October 2014 in Turkey’s southeastern province of Gaziantep has became a suspect in the case regarding the protests, on the grounds that she was the only “woman” involved in the unrest.
Şehriban Sertkal, 19, will stand trial accused of being a “member of a terror organization” and being involved in illegal protests, on the grounds that no other woman was involved in the protests. The prosecutor preparing the indictment reached this conclusion as no other women were admitted to hospital in the area on the night of the protests, Oct. 9.
Sertkal, who says she was heading to a friend’s house at the time, was wounded in her shoulder, leg and hip from gunfire shots in Gaziantep’s Şahinbey district.
The deaf-mute woman was paralyzed due to her injuries, and had to drop out of school as she became bedridden.
Tens of people died in street unrest in a number of cities, especially in Turkey’s southeastern provinces, in October 2014, as protesters called on the Turkish government to be more active in preventing Kobane, a Syrian Kurdish town close to the Turkish border, fall to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
According to the indictment accepted by the Gaziantep 2nd Court of Serious Crimes, Sertkal is charged with “being a member of a terror organization, making propaganda of a terror organization, illegally possessing dangerous material and exchanging it, joining an unlawful protest with a gun, not dispersing despite warnings, and resisting an officer.”
As evidence, the indictment presented a photo showing a woman protestor with long braids being carried away by others from where the protests were happening, saying “the woman was probably taken to a health center to be treated” and it was understood that Serkal was the suspect “as there was no other woman registered in state or private health care centers for treatment on that night.”
However Sertkal, who is the only suspect in the case, was wearing her hair short at the time of the protests.
Her attorney, Adnan Erol, also said that in the surveillance footage presented by police a woman can be seen shouting by bringing her hands to her mouth, but this would be impossible as his client was deaf-mute.
The first hearing will be held on Sept. 8.