Osman Özgüven, Republican People's Party (CHP) Mayor of Dikli on the Aegean cost, was acquitted in the 'water case'. Özgüven stood trial at the Dikili Criminal Court of First Instance because he did not charge the people in the district for the consumption of 10 tons of water. Additionally, the mayor granted a 50 percent discount on the normal price to employees of the municipality.
Özgüven was prosecuted under charges of "misconduct of office" during the past two years.
The mayor explained to bianet, "The court accepted our activities as a public service. It registered that water should not have to be purchased with money and should not be commercialized. This is what we claimed from the very beginning. This is a right of live and addresses humanity".
Özgüven: Municipalities should not act like trading firms
Özgüven emphasized that the positive decision is an important sign in times when the global tendency leads to the privatization of water. "Other municipalities should learn a lesson from our implementations and the according court decision. It should be our duty to provide a certain amount of water to our population free of charge. One person needs 180 litres of water per day. Municipalities should not be trading firms but public sector service providers. A person can survive on bread only, but should a person who cannot afford to buy water die?"
The mayor added that he is going to continue to provide access to water free of charge and that he might extent the judicial process further.
Prosecutor and court agreed on acquittal
Özgüven's lawyer Arif Ali Cangı stated a violation of the constitutional principle of equality by charging his client with violating law no. 4736 on Tariffs for Goods and Services Produced by Public Enterprises and the Amendments of Certain Laws.
In his final speech, Prosecutor Velihattin Erdemir indicated that Özgüven's alleged offence served the conservation of water and did not cause any public harm. (Any water consumption exceeding 10 tons was being charged.) Erdemir requested the acquittal of all municipality employees.
In accordance with the prosecutor's views, President Judge Mehtap Şen decided for the acquittal of all un-detained defendants. The reasons for the judgement will be published later on.
The case was initially opened upon a complaint filed by the Chamber of Accounts in the course of an investigation. (EÖ/VK)
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