Policeman who witnessed Hürriyet attack ‘cannot identify defendants’

Policeman who witnessed Hürriyet attack ‘cannot identify defendants’

Ceylan Sever – ISTANBUL
Policeman who witnessed Hürriyet attack ‘cannot identify defendants’

A police officer who witnessed the attack on daily Hürriyet’s headquarters in Istanbul two years ago has said he cannot identify the defendants in the case because too much time has elapsed.

The policeman, who remains anonymous, was the sole witness in the hearing despite an earlier ruling to force six other witnesses to testify.

Hürriyet’s headquarters in Istanbul’s Bağcılar district were pelted with stones by club-wielding protesters on Sep. 6, 2015. Less than 48 hours later, the building was attacked again by another club-swinging, stone-pelting group.

During the 7th hearing of the case in the Bakırköy 5th Criminal Court of First Instance on Dec. 21, the anonymous police witness said he could not remember the details of the attack because too much time had passed. Nor was he able to identify the defendants for the same reason.

“We had been assigned to watch the front of daily Hürriyet headquarters in the evening of the day of the incident. I remember seeing trucks parked in front of the headquarters. A crowd attempted to enter the yard of the building and damaged the security booth and surveillance cameras. We tried to intervene and remove the group from the building. However, I do not know which people entered the yard of the building. Even if I did see them, I am in no position to identify them,” the policeman said.

Hürriyet lawyer Eren Mustafa Şener was also present.

The court ruled to force two more previously unheard witnesses to testify and adjourned the case.

The Bakırköy Chief Public Prosecutor’s office had filed a lawsuit against a total of 26 defendants, who were to be tried without arrest over the attack, with possible prison terms ranging from two years and four months to nine years over charges of “damaging property” and “violation of a residence.”