Family of Gezi victim faces 10 years in prison for shoving son’s killer

Family of Gezi victim faces 10 years in prison for shoving son’s killer

ISTANBUL - Radikal
Family of Gezi victim faces 10 years in prison for shoving son’s killer

Ethem Sarısüşük's mother Safiye cries during the funeral of her son. DHA Photo

Members of the Sarısülük family, whose son Ethem Sarısülük was shot dead during last summer’s Gezi protests, could face up to 10 years in prison following a criminal complaint by the man’s convicted killer.

Ahmet Şahbaz, who was sentenced to seven years and nine months in prison last month for Sarısülük’s murder, has filed a complaint against members of the victim’s family after they knocked off his fake wig and beard during an altercation outside a court hearing on Sept. 23, 2013.

During the hearing, Sarısülük’s family objected to the presence of around 100 plainclothes police officers in the courtroom, prompting one officer to respond, “We’re not going anywhere, shut up.” The officers’ refusal to leave resulted in a fracas in which members of the family threw water bottles at the police, leading the judge to order that the law enforcement personnel vacate the courtroom.

Departing officers allegedly beat observers and witnesses, injuring two of the latter. At the same time, members of the family and their lawyers also encountered Şahbaz outside the courtroom, resulting in another altercation in which the officer’s wig and beard – which he was wearing to avoid being identified – fell to the ground.

Şahbaz’s lawyers have opened a case against members of the Sarısülük family on allegations of premeditated injury and defamation, demanding up to seven years and nine months for the murder victim’s mother, Sayfı Sarısülük, and two of his brothers, as well as 10 years and five months for another brother, İkrar Sarısülük – almost three years in excess of the duration of the murder sentence.

In their complaint, the officer’s lawyers claimed that “marginal groups” – an epithet that gained currency during the Gezi protests as it was used frequently by authorities to describe the mass demonstrations – had conducted verbal and physical attacks against the suspect and his lawyers.

“The courtroom for the hearing was completely taken over by marginal groups who proceeded to terrorize the courtroom,” they said.

Şahbaz was convicted on Sept. 3 of killing Sarısülük after he shot the Gezi demonstrator point-blank in Ankara’s Kızılay Square on June 1, 2013. The victim’s family and lawyers had demanded a heavier penalty, but the court instead meted out a mere seven-month, nine-month sentence. Şahbaz, meanwhile, is set to be released on probation after just four years and 10 months in prison.