Istanbul Bar Association held a press conference yesterday, underlining the judicial violations during Gezi Park Resistance.
“The situation risks turning into a witch hunt,” Istanbul Bar Association Chairperson Ümit Kocasakal said.
“There are signs to prove this claim. I can even say witch hunt already started. This case will likely to become Turkey’s new big case like Ergenekon, Sledgehammer, OdaTV cases. Second, we worry that social media will be under pressure.”
Nine people missing
According to the press statement released by the bar association, they have received 146 missing complaints (39 women and 105 men). While 137 were found, the remaining 9 is still missing.
Reminding that more roughly 1,000 advocates worked actively at a crisis desk in Istanbul during Gezi Park Resistance, Kocasakal continued:
“Only in Istanbul, around 17,000 people contacted the bar association for legal assistance related to Gezi Park Resistance. 882 people were either detained or captured. 6 people have been arrested. Some of the detainees are still giving their testimonies at the moment.”
“Protest is a constitutional right. The law says: ‘Everybody has the right to protest without a consent in a non-violent and non-forceful way.’ There is no reason to find an excuse behind it.”
“Prosecutors issue arrest warrants for protestors, claiming that their protective helmets and googles are weapons. Courts in Ankara and Istanbul refused these charges.”
“This is unlawful force, not excessive force”
Kocasakal claimed that police did not use excessive force but unlawful force on protestors.
“PM said: ‘Police will certainly use pepper gas, it is the same in EU.’ Not really. Police doesn’t even have the right to use force. Their duties have been defined within Police Duty and Competence Law.”
“Police is only allowed to use force in order to disperse a resistance when confronted a resistance. The aforementioned law only permits an amount of force equivalent to resisters.”
“In other words, police has to warn first, then use force with gradual force. First body force, then peppers gas, water cannon and batons. Police can only use force in case there is a resistance. And they can’t execute this duty by their own initiative. They need an order from a chief officer.”
“Pepper gas can’t be used randomly”
Kocasakal also added that pepper gas could not be used randomly as ECHR had related verdicts.
“Some ECHR verdicts point out how pepper gas must be used. You can’t use pepper gas from a close-distance or approximate to injured people or closed environments. Even in open environments, pepper gas must be used exceptionally. Health measures must be taken as well. These regulations were not followed.” (AS/BM)
* Photo credit: Berk Özkan / AA
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