Legal battle over Gezi victim Berkin Elvan rages on amid family complaints

Legal battle over Gezi victim Berkin Elvan rages on amid family complaints

Legal battle over Gezi victim Berkin Elvan rages on amid family complaints

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On the third anniversary of a police attack that sent then 14-year-old Berkin Elvan, a symbol of 2013 Gezi Park protests, into a coma and led to his death 269 days later, his family has said their sorrow is only growing due to continued “unlawfulness.” 

“As the family, we [feel] just the pain just like the first day. It never diminishes. When this is added to ongoing unlawfulness, we have even more trouble. But somehow we are trying to stand up. We are continuing our legal battle and life goes on,” said Elvan’s father, Sami Elvan, in an interview with Deutsche Welle Turkish.  

Berkin Elvan was shot by a tear gas canister fired by police and died in March 2014 after 269 days in a coma.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was prime minister when Elvan was injured, encouraged his supporters to book the Elvan family during subsequent election rallies.

His injury and subsequent death galvanized opposition to Erdoğan’s government and the heavy-handed tactics used by the police.

Sami Elvan said the family had observed other trials related to the Gezi Park protests and found that the “courts are taking decisions to side with the government and the attackers are being freed without receiving sentences.”

“I don’t think those who shot our child will be punished during this government’s term,” he added, vowing to continue their legal battle. 

Elvan also said they were considering appealing to the ECHR but the legal process has not yet been exhausted in Turkey. 

“But we know there is no effective investigation being carried out here. Our lawyers were going to appeal to the Constitutional Court. There are some small developments in the dossier but everything is clear. The dossiers are being deliberately shelved with the government’s pressure,” said Elvan.

He also added that Berkin had “given big hope to Turkey with his small body.”

Meanwhile, to commemorate Elvan, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul deputy Ali Şeker held a press meeting at the Turkish Parliament alongside Elvan’s father and other CHP deputies. 

“Those who committed this crime in front of the state of justice and law should pay for it,” said Şeker, stressing that the identity of Elvan’s killer had still not been revealed three years after the attack.