Turkish child tried for damaging public property during Gezi protests
ISTANBUL – Radikal
Two years in prison has been demanded for a 13-year-old child for crimes including 'damaging public property.' DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GürelTwo years in prison has been demanded for a 13-year-old child for crimes including “damaging public property,” which were allegedly committed during the summer Gezi protests that started in May and subsequently spread across Turkey.
A prosecutor in the western province of Çanakkale requested the punishment for an elementary school student, identified only as B.T.İ., accusing him of writing the slogans “resign, government,” “death to fascism” and “f**k the police” with spray paint on a road in his home town.
The prosecutor is demanding that B.T.İ be taken from his family and handed over to state protection if no prison term is imposed.
On June 3, when the Gezi Park protests began to spread across Turkey from Istanbul, a group of 2,500 people in central Çanakkale started marching through the city’s “Freedom Park,” chanting slogans. The police did not intervene, but instead tracked those writing slogans on the walls and streets, daily Radikal reported.
After the police identified B.T.İ., while analyzing the city camera footage, Çanakkale deputy police chief Tefvik Güreşçi sent an official letter to the Public Security Branch’s Children Office, demanding legal action be taken against the child.
B.T.İ. was summoned to the prosecutor’s office and the testimony was given under the observation of a psychologist.
The child said he wrote the slogans that he had heard being chanted by the crowd.
The Forensic Medicine Institute issued a report stating that the child was not mature enough to realize the legal consequences of the crime he had committed.
Prosecutor Ozan Kaya, however, filed the indictment and accused the child of damaging public property by tainting the road with graffiti, and said the Forensic Medicine Institute’s report was not binding.
The Penal Court of First Instance accepted the indictment and the first trial was held on Nov. 27 in the child’s absence. The child will be brought to court by police on Jan. 21, 2014, according to the court board’s order.
The Gezi Park protests in Turkey began at the end of May against a government redevelopment plan. The attempt to save the last green area in Istanbul’s central Taksim Square evolved into the country’s largest turmoil in recent history, with prolonged protests across the country, resulting in the death of five protesters and a police officer, and thousands injured.