Policemen convicted for torture in public

Policemen convicted for torture in public

ISTANBUL - Daily News with wires
Policemen convicted for torture in public

21-year-old Güney Tuna was beaten by seven police officers in Istanbul’s Avcılar district in 2009.

Two policemen who beat a university student in Istanbul in 2009 for drinking alcohol on the street were convicted for torture and given 13 years and four months imprisonment in total.

This is the first verdict where a Turkish court has defined police violence that occurred in a public space as torture, said Efkan Bolaç, the plantiff’s lawyer.

“This verdict will lead to a serious precedent for the Turkish judicial system. Even one of the judges opposed the verdict saying the imprisonment should have been 15 years not six years for each [officer],” Bolaç told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday in a phone interview.

“The Court of Appeals will take the case next and we will have to wait to see their final decision,” Bolaç added.

In October 2009, 21-year-old Güney Tuna, a university student at time, was beaten by seven police officers in Istanbul’s Avcılar district, leaving him with a broken leg and serious head injuries that were not recorded in a routine custody medical report.

Aggravated torture in public space

Two police officers, Muhammet Bağcı and Samet Durmaz were sentenced to six years and eight months imprisonment on charges of aggravated torture, by an Istanbul court on Dec
19. The other five officers were acquitted.

Engin Artan, the doctor responsible for faking a clean bill of health for Tuna after he was beaten and brought in by the police also was found guilty by the court for neglect of duty. He was sentenced to two months and 15 days imprisonment, which was postponed.

Tuna was in a park in Avcılar on Oct. 3, 2009 with his friends drinking alcohol and playing guitar when police arrived on the scene. He was then beaten and left with severe injuries by the police.

‘Forced to sign papers’

According to court records, seven police officers beat Tuna and forced him to sign a paper that said “I was not beaten.”

City surveillance cameras showed seven officers involved in the incident, however, only two were convicted.

This is not understandable, said Bolaç, adding that it was, however, inspiring and hopeful to see a Turkish court take steps to punish police officers despite death not being a factor in this case, said Bolaç.

As a result of the incident Tuna went through a traumatic period of time following the beating and could not continue his university education, later moving to another city altogether, his lawyer Bolaç said.