Charges of torture are being pressed against five police officers of the Riot Forces Branch on the grounds of alleged torture of Öztürk Aladağ and Naciye Kaplan who were taken into custody on Labour Day 2009. The case opened by the Beyoğlu (Istanbul) Public Chief Prosecution does not only focus on the police officers but also includes the branch officials.
The indictment was prepared by Public Prosecutor Ali Şafak on 30 June 2010. The indictment seeks prison terms of up to 26 years for defendants Nuh Mete Damgacı, deputy inspector of the Riot Forces Branch, branch official Veli Tarım, Ayhan Aktaş and Kemal Güney from the Beyoğlu Police Civil Defence Head Office and Ayhan Baştürk from the Fatih (Istanbul) General Information Gathering (GBT) head office. The defendants face charges of "torture" and "deprivation of personal liberty".
The criminal complaint filed against the Istanbul Riot Forces Branch President, Gökhan Özsavaş, then Deputy Chief of Police, was dropped. However, the lawyers appealed that decision.
Özsavaş had stated, "I was not in Beyoğlu at the time of the incident. It is impossible that I gave an instruction that exceeded the limits of used force. The petition complains about almost all superiors and civil servants in Istanbul".
The Bakırköy 12th High Criminal Court considered the appeal on 3 September and paved the way to Özsavaş's prosecution. His file was merged with the files of the other suspects.
Meral Hanbayat, joint attorney of the complainant party, told bianet that police officers who use violence in interventions in social actions are usually charged with "injury" when they exceed their authority by using force. She said that it became a habit to drop these procedures.
Hanbayat explained, "In this sense it is rather important that a torture case has been opened against police officers. Moreover, the torture case was opened against a superior official under charges of 'neglect'. As far as I know, this is a first in our history of justice".
The lawyer emphasized the improbability that the superiors on duty lacked information about this kind of incident and thus did not take the necessary precautions. The first hearing of the trial is scheduled for 2 December before the Beyoğlu 1st High Criminal Court. (EÖ/VK)
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