Man on trial for insulting Gezi victim’s father was ‘encouraged’ by president
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
AP PhotoA man on trial for insulting the father of Berkin Elvan, the youngest victim of the 2013 Gezi protests, has testified he was “encouraged” by then-prime minister President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, saying “Similar remarks were previously made by the president of this country.”
“I do not know the person [Sami Elvan, Berkin Elvan’s father]. Similar remarks were previously made by the president of this country [Erdoğan]. I made the same remarks being encouraged by him,” said the defendant identified as M.A, according to his testimony read out in a court session held in the Istanbul 41st Court for Serious Crimes on June 23.
M.A pleaded guilty and admitted the Twitter postings he had been charged over were his, according to his testimony in the indictment prepared by the Chief Public Prosecutor Turgay Özcan.
The indictment said the suspect wrote on Mar. 11, 2014, on Twitter: “Sending a terrorist to [the] streets, making a terrorist [into a] hero with lies and judging the hero who killed him [Berkin Elvan].” Elvan had been shot in the head with a tear gas canister fired by a police officer during the height of the Gezi Park demonstrations in June 2013 and died after being in a coma for 269 days.
M.A also wrote, referring to Sami Elvan, on Twitter: “You are ready to defame and slander. You attack a value of the country rather than being ashamed for raising a terrorist... We keep shooting you... The streets will be graveyards for terrorists.”
The indictment carried a penalty of one year to six years and four months in prison for M.A, who was a tradesman in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri, on charges of “threatening,” “insulting” and “insulting the memory of the dead.”
No members of the Elvan family attended the court hearing, as they were represented by their attorneys.
Oya Aslan, one of the attorneys representing the Elvan family, said the defendant already pleaded guilty and demanded he be arrested, adding, “A lot of people get arrested for insulting. Our colleague was arrested for insulting the president.”
The court’s judge rejected the demand to arrest the defendant and postponed the court hearing to another date, as the defendant and his attorney did not attend the court session.