After riots in Zeytinburnu/Istanbul, Labour, Democracy and Freedom Block Deputies Sırrı Süreyya Önder, Bengi Yıldız, Sebahat Tuncel and Ertuğrul Kürkçü visited the district on Wednesday (27 July) together with executives of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). Unrests targeting Kurdish citizens had started on 18 July and resulted in the demolition of several offices and shops.
Önder announced that the people taken into police custody in the course of the riots were divided into two groups: The people with a Kurdish ethnic background were taken to the Anti-Terror Branch whereas the others were brought to the Public Order Branch. Önder noted that this situation was also discussed with the Governor of Istanbul, Hüseyin Avni Mutlu, and that he was going to follow the matter as well.
Lawyer Hüseyin Boğatekin is the legal advisor of some of the people who were taken into police custody. In a statement made to bianet he explained that 22 of the people in police custody were taken to the Anti-Terror Branch and the remaining persons were brought to the Bakırköy (Istanbul) Prosecutor's Office. Boğatekin emphasized that such an application lacked any legal basis.
"Inhabitants with sensitive national feelings"
Boğatekin expounded, "There is one single incident but two different investigations are being launched independent from each other. The Kurdish people were taken to the Anti-Terror Branch on the grounds of propaganda for an illegal organization whereas the others were brought to the Public Order Branch. The custody record described the non-Kurdish people as "inhabitants of the district that with sensitive national feelings'".
Accordingly, the trials will be handled separately. The Kurdish people will be tried at the Beşiktaş (Istanbul) High Criminal Court whereas the others face prosecution at the Bakırköy Criminal Court of First Instance.
Lawyer Atalay: "Punishment in advance"
bianet asked lawyer Akın Atalay for his opinion on the matter. He highlighted that the application was lacking a legal base. Atalay interpreted the application as a "penalty in advance".
He added, "The law is being used for discrimination. It is unfair of the police to channel the law the way they want to during the ongoing investigation phase. Right now, not even an appeal can be lodged since the incident is being put into the investigation area of the Special Authority Prosecution. They will be victims of the situation until the case will have been opened at least. This incident should have handled as a single issue. All people in custody should have been covered within the scope of either a criminal case or an anti-terror issue".
"The authorities have to take action soon in order to correct this unlawful application".
About 100 people were taken into custody throughout the incidents in Zeytinburnu. Ten people were arrested, seven of whom were Kurds. According to information issued by the police, 70 homes and offices and 130 vehicles were damaged, mostly owned by Kurdish people. (IC/VK)