Judge has 'clear conscience' after releasing suspect of Gezi protester’s murder

Judge has 'clear conscience' after releasing suspect of Gezi protester’s murder

Mesut Hasan Benli ANKARA
Judge has clear conscience after releasing suspect of Gezi protester’s murder

A group of human rights defenders, lawyers and Ethem Sarısülük's family members protested the release from custody of the police officer. Hürriyet Daily News photo by Selahattin Sönmez

Judge Mustafa Aydın, who ruled for the release from custody of the police officer responsible for the shooting and killing of protester Ethem Sarısülük, has declared that he made the decision according to his conscience and that people’s reactions would not influence his decision.

“There is intense evidence that the police officer’s action remains within the scope of self-defense. I have a clear conscience. Millions coming together will not influence my decision,” Aydın, who received wide criticism upon his decision, was quoted as saying by sources yesterday.

He explained his decision to his close circle as being based on evidence, adding that he had repeatedly watched the video of Sarısülük getting shot, the same sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.

“When the status of the police officer is considered, no firing to the head is seen. There has been no evidence to manifest the suspicion of ‘voluntary manslaughter.’ The moment that the victim was shot in the head, it is seen that the barrel of the gun was pointed upwards,” Aydın was quoted as further elaborating.

“Even if the bullet was not deformed, it is thought that the possibility of ricochet is high, a microscopic unfamiliar particle test would be appropriate,” the judge said, in an apparent reference to the fact that an expert report stated that a ricochet was not the case.

“Before coming to the court, I thought ‘I will be arresting’ the suspect. When I watched the video, my decision changed. Self-defense occurs if firing into the air happens due to fear of being killed, concern of being lynched. In this case, a punishment may not be inflicted ... In the video, it is seen that the police officer suspected is hastened by the protesters. There is a report of being hit by 37 stones. It is understood that he acted out of fear of being killed,” Aydın was also quoted as saying.

As of June 25, the public prosecutor had called the suspect police officer, identified as Ahmet Ş., with a warrant of arrest due to causing death by crossing the limit of self-defense, and was later dispatched to Ankara’s 13th Criminal Court. Later, Judge Aydın decided for him to be released, pending trial.