Innocent man being tried over mistaken identity in police report
ANKARA - Hasan Mesut Benli
Engin Darğın, a resident of the Central Anatolian province of Yozgat, has become a party to a smuggling case, which he had no involvement in, due to the name resemblance and the wrong identification by the police.
As a result of a court notification he received from his home, Darğın learned that he was being tried in İzmir, where he has never been to.
The İzmir Police Department searched an address in Karabağlar of İzmir province on March 11, 2015, upon the notification of illegal cigarette trafficking and seized 179 packs of illegal cigarettes. The police officers, who had made a report against Engin Darğın, had by mistake entered the Turkish ID number of another Engin Darğın, who was working as an officer in the property directorate in Boğazlıyan district of Yozgat.
In the investigation, a lawsuit was filed at the 1st Criminal Court of First Instance for the crime of “smuggling” against Engin Darğın, the resident of İzmir.
The mistake in the process was that though the address was correct, the identification data that included the Turkish identity number and birth registration information was of another Engin Darğın from Yozgat, who has never been to İzmir in his lifetime.
Darğın from İzmir, during his court hearings, had made his defense in which he had stated that he was unemployed and had opened a gift shop at that time but could not earn enough money and that a person had offered him to earn money by selling cigarettes to which he had agreed and later regretted his decision.
In the first hearing, the court sentenced Darğin to two years and six months in prison on Sept. 17. 2015, for “violating the smuggling law.” The court had then turned the sentence into a fine to which Darğın had appealed against the decision.
The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office had prepared a notification requesting approval. The Chief Prosecutor’s Office had issued a notice to the address of Engin Darğın from Yozgat instead, who had nothing to do with the case at all.
On receiving the legal notice, Darğin had applied to the Boğazlıyan Chief Public Prosecutor and had given a statement that read, “Though there has been a verdict about me as a result of the trial, I have never been to İzmir even once in my life and have never lost my identity.”
Engin Darğın from Yozgat, who is serving in the public sector as a martyr’s relative, faced the danger of losing his job due to the punishment in question. His lawyer applied to the Supreme Court of Appeals on Feb. 23 The Supreme Court will have the last word.