Police who sprayed Gezi's ‘woman in red’ ordered to plant 600 trees
REUTERS PhotoA police officer that gained notoriety for spraying pepper spray at peaceful protesters, including an academic who became known as the “woman in red” during the outset of the Gezi Park uprising in 2013, has been sentenced to 20 months in jail and ordered to plant 600 trees.
Fatih Z., the police officer who sprayed pepper gas directly into the face of several protesters, including a woman in a red dress – Ceyda Sungur – in what became one of the most iconic photos from the 2013 Gezi resistance, was sentenced to 20 months in jail by an Istanbul court.
The officer, however, will not actually serve any time in prison as the court suspended the execution of the sentence.
Istanbul 73th Penal Court of First Instance said in its ruling that the suspect had been sentenced to 10 months for exceeding his authority to use force and committing the crime of “injuring people.” The court also sentenced the officer to 10 months for “malpractice” for spraying tear gas at people in the vicinity, including Sungur, without issuing any warning and for kicking them.
The court also ordered the police officer to plant 600 trees and to tend the trees for the following six months.
The incident took place on May 28, 2013, in Istanbul’s Gezi Park when a group of people attempted to stop a construction vehicle from cutting down trees in the park as part of a construction project that included an Ottoman-themed shopping mall.
The protests soon erupted into a nationwide uprising due to the heavy-handed police response at Gezi Park, ultimately resulting in the deaths of eight protesters.
Sungur is an academic currently employed at Istanbul Technical University’s Architecture Department.