Police officers get postponed fines for Gezi protest beatings
İZMİR – Doğan News AgencyA local court in İzmir has handed down a postponed monetary fine for an incident in which several students were beaten by two riot police officers, one of whom was photographed pulling a girl’s hair, during the Gezi protests in 2013.
Judge Ümit Özmen initially sentenced the two officers to 360 days in jail, but reduced the jail term to 74 days each. The judge then converted the sentences to a monetary fine of 1,480 Turkish Liras each before postponing the fine, meaning they will have to pay the fine if they commit a similar crime in the next five years.
The incident took place on June 2, 2013, when several protesters marched at a rally in İzmir’s Alsancak Gündoğdu Square as part of the Gezi protests. Several students sitting nearby were beaten by the police officers, who were temporarily suspended after the incident, during which one of them was photographed by journalists pulling the hair of a girl among the students.
A public prosecutor had demanded up to six years in jail for the police officers.
The Gezi protests began in late May 2013 as an effort to stop bulldozers from razing central Istanbul’s Gezi Park, one of the few green spaces left in the city’s Taksim neighborhood, to build a shopping mall. Unrest quickly spread across Turkey, developing into a revolt against what protesters said was the increasing authoritarianism of the ruling party.
Eight protesters and one police officer were killed during the unrest.
Recently, a local court in Istanbul sentenced 244 participants in the 2013 Gezi protests to jail time for a range of crimes, including “polluting a mosque.”
On Oct. 23, 2015, the 55th Criminal Court of First Instance in Istanbul sentenced 244 of 255 defendants to up to one year and two months’ imprisonment. Only four of the defendants were acquitted, while charges against four suspects were separated from the case file.