Police officer who allegedly shot protester not yet acquitted: Deputy PM
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç commented on the court decision to release a police officer suspected of killing a protester, during the press briefing after a Cabinet meeting on June 24. AFP photoDeputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has defended the release of a police officer who allegedly shot a demonstrator, leading to the his death, during a press briefing after a Cabinet meeting on June 24. Arınç, however, emphasized that the ruling has not acquitted the officer yet.
"The fact that he was released under probationary conditions does not mean that he has been acquitted in the trial," Arınç said, adding that the investigation was still ongoing. "If during the trial it is established that the incident happened intentionally and deliberately, the verdict will be rendered accordingly.
Sarısülük, a 26-year-old worker, died after being shot in the head during a protest near Güven Park in Ankara's central Kızılay district on June 1. The suspect police officer, identified as Ahmet Ş., was released on probation after a court ruled that the shooting was "within the limits of self-defense."
Arınç also said that there were circumstances indicating that the ruling was appropriate. "The explanation of the [ruling] could be this way as the evidence gathered and the footage that recorded the incident [show]. The demonstrators usurped the rights of the police officer. The police cordon was broken by the demonstrators and 33 stones hit [the suspect officer]. He was also kicked and punched," he said.
"He fired two gunshots into the air. This conclusion was reached that the incident may have happened as a stone hit his hand during the third gunshot," Arınç added.
Sarısülük's death had prompted much anger, with the protesters demanding that the government investigate and punish the police officers responsible for violence against the protesters.