The 14th Istanbul High Criminal Court in the district of Bakırköy ruled to sentence prison guards Selahattin Apaydın and Sami Ergazi as well as deputy warden Fuat Karaosmanoğlu to life-time imprisonment for torturing journalist Engin Çeber to death in 2008.
Prison doctor Yemliha Söylemez also received a sentence of three years, one month and 15 days of imprisonment, while Nihat Kızılkaya received a jail sentence of two years and six months. Kızılkaya was released, however, in view of the time he has already spent behind bars.
The court further sentenced police officers Mehmet Pek and Abdülmuttalip Bozyel to two and a half years in prison three times over on the charge of torture. Specialist Sergeant Murat İşler also received the same sentence.
Murat Çise, Öncay Bozo and Yavuz Uzun received four years and two months in prison three times over.
Engin Çeber's father Ali Tekin and his siblings Şerife Çeber and Erdem Tekin also attended the hearing that started at 11:00 a.m. on Monday.
A commotion ensued prior to the hearing when police officers working at the courthouse began insulting the lawyers. Officials consequently wrote a minute about officer Şuayip Kaptı for cursing and insulting lawyers Günay Dağ and Ömer Kavili.
"A step forward to punish torturers"
Defendant lawyer Barkın Timtik said torture was systemmatic and an instrument of state policy while speaking in the trial, and lawyer Selçuk Kozağaçlı asserted that the offense in question should be considered as an act of torture and not merely "ill-treatment."
"[The first verdict in 2010] was historic even if it was flawed because it was the first time that wardens who bore responsibility for an incident of torture received a [prison] sentence. The conclusion of this trial will constitute a step forward to punish the perpetrators of torture and others in charge who systemmatically employ it as a policy instrument," lawyer Kozağaçlı said.
The arrested suspects who received a life-time imprisonment sentence during the first trial would all flee abroad if the court decides to release them pending trial, he also said in the hearing.
Plaintiff lawyer Ömer Yeşilyurt, on the other hand, claimed that beating the victim with a sledgehammer for nearly a minute did not constitute an act of torture. Prison guard Apaydın's lawyer Reşat Pek also requested that his client be tried on the charge of causing injury rather than torture, but the court denied his request.
The court then issued its verdict following a recess.
Police officer Aliye Uçak also received five months of imprisonment, but the court decided to suspend that sentence.
The final verdict also represents the first time that officials who engaged in acts of torture did not receive the minimum possible sentence, Çeber family's lawyer Taylan Tanay also said after the hearing.
"Warden Karaosmanoğlu did not participate in the torture sessions. He was merely the superior of those who tortured [Çeber] and failed to stop them when he could. He consequently received a life-time sentence. This verdict has gone quite far, and if authorities follow through with it, then a security office director, for instance, can also receive as hefty a sentence as the police officer who commits the actual torture. This represents a significant step in preventing torture," Tanay said.
Officials took Çeber under custody on Sept. 28, 2008 on the grounds that he had participated in a press meeting and distributed the Yürüyüş magazine. He was tortured incessantly until Oct. 7, 2008 in both the İstinye Şehit Muhsin Bodur Police Department and the Metris Prison.
He passed away at the Şişli Etfal Hospital on Oct. 10, 2008, while expert reports also confirmed that torture was the cause of his death.
A suit was subsequently filed at the Bakırköy 14th High Criminal Court against a total of 60 suspects, including 39 prison guards, three wardens, 13 police officers, four troops and one doctor.
Fuat Karaosmanoğlu, the deputy warden of Metris Prison, and guards Apaydın, Ergazi and Kızılkaya were sentenced to life-time imprisonment on June 1, 2010 on the charge of murder through torture.
Prison guards Yavuz Uzun and Murat Çise and police officers Abdülmuttalip Bozyel and Mehmet Pek received seven and a half years in prison, while officer Aliye Uçak received two and a half years in prison over a variety of charges including torture, intentional injury, negligience and not reporting an offense.
Prison doctor Yemliha Söylemez also received three years and nine months in prison on the charge of forging a fake document.
The Eighth Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals, however, overturned that verdict on Sept. 28, 2011. The first hearing after that was scheduled for Feb. 20, 2012, or 16 months afterwards, while the summary judgement took place on Monday. (AS/HK)
Related bianet News
ENGİN ÇEBER TRIAL Different Prosecutor, Same Demands in Torture Trial 06 August 2012The prosecutor in the trial on Engin Çeber, a journalist tortured to death ...
ENGİN ÇEBER CASE Torture "Revealed" at Metris Prison 15 May 2012An inmate from Engin Çeber’s ward described how Çeber was beaten. “The second ...
ENGIN ÇEBER TORTURE CASE Ancillary Trial: Judge Learned Details from Television 14 July 2010Lipp reading expert Tekol and Yıldız from atv stand trial because of "attempting ...
TORTURE Çeber Case: Life Sentences for 3 Prison Guards and Head of Prison 02 June 2010Three prison guards and the vice director of Metris Prison were convicted of ...
ENGIN ÇEBER CASE Impunity in Torture Case with New Prosecutor? 13 April 2010Newly assigned prosecutor Calık in the torture case of Engin Çeber, who died ...
TORTURE Torture Case of Killed Activist Çeber Postponed 23 February 2010The prosecutor excused his absense in yesterday's hearing of the trial regarding Engin ...
"Engin Çeber Case - Case of Torture" 18 November 2009Lawyer Aslan stated that witness accounts as well as camera records and medical ...
RIGHT TO LIFE Engin Çeber Murder Case: Long and Winding Trial Road 06 October 2009Because of missing voice records the 7th hearing of the Engin Çeber murder ...
DEATH of ENgin Çeber Court Has "No Recordings of Torture Witnesses" 20 August 2009The recordings of witness statements regarding the death by police torture of Engin ...
ENGİN ÇEBER Torture Case Prison Chief Threatened Fellow Prisoners after Torturing Çeber 09 June 2009According to the statement of a fellow detainee of torture victim Çeber, other ...
Torture Suspect Sexually Assaults Victim’s Sister 16 April 2009At the court case concerned with the death of Engin Çeber, his sister ...
Most Read Today
Doğan Media Group Chair Yalçındağ Resigns After RedHack’s Leak 30 September 2016
Kılıçdaroğlu Criticizes Erdoğan’s Comments on Treaty of Lausanne 30 September 2016
Emre Madran Prize Awarded to Our Colleague Nilay Vardar From bianet 30 September 2016
Websites of İMC TV, Özgür Radyo, Hayatın Sesi Blocked 30 September 2016