Five workers’ union heads acquitted of charges over Workers’ Day call
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
DHA PhotoFive managers of workers’ unions and chambers have been acquitted of charges of inciting the public to take part in illegal meetings and marches for the occasion of International Workers’ Day in 2014.
Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK) Chairman Kani Beko, DİSK General Secretary Arzu Çerkezoğlu, Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK) Head Lami Özgen, the head of the board of directors of the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB), Mehmet Soğancı, and the then-head of the Turkish Medical Association, Ahmet Özdemir, were all acquitted of the charges of “inciting the public to take part in unlawful meetings and marches” on May 1, 2014, International Workers’ Day.
An Istanbul court decided on March 24 elements of the alleged crime were not apparent and thus ruled for the acquittal of the five suspects.
The five suspects were facing between one-and-a-half to four years of imprisonment for breaching the law on meetings and demonstrations. The indictment had stated even though the Istanbul governorate had declared Istanbul’s Taksim Square was closed to the Workers’ Day celebrations in 2014, the heads of DİSK, KESK, TMMOB and TTB had called on the public to gather and celebrate the occasion in the square.
Speaking before the Istanbul courthouse, Beko said the court had determined the workers’ and public officials’ demands to protest in Taksim Square.
“We made a call to be in Taksim Square on May 1, 2014. With this decision, the legitimacy of our claim that ‘Taksim is an area for May 1’ was once again verified,” said Beko.