1,000 people protest outside Turkish courthouse
Nearly a thousand people demonstrated outside a courthouse the Turkish city of Kayseri, where eight men including four police officers stood trial over allegations of beating a teenage protester to death during 2013 demonstrations.
The protest was staged on Monday despite tight security measures as the demonstrators called for justice for Ali Ismail Korkmaz.
The 19-year-old lost his life after being beaten with baseball bats and truncheons during a protest in the western city of Eskisehir on June 2, 2013. The brutal assault was recorded by security cameras and the young student succumbed to his injuries after nearly 40 days in a coma.
“I saw Ali Ismail being kicked on his back and head again and again,” Semih Berkay Yapici, a key eyewitness, told the court.
“Blood was pouring down his face and he had bruises. I asked him what happened and he answered he was beaten with batons on his head,” said Turhan Gurler, a friend who took Korkmaz to hospital.
The eight defendants are accused of premeditated murder and face up to life in prison if found guilty. They deny the charges.
The court ordered that five of the suspects including one policeman would remain under arrest pending trial. The next hearing is scheduled for July 14.
On May 31, 2013, Turkish police broke up a sit-in held at Taksim Square of Istanbul against a proposal to demolish the city’s Gezi Park.
The violence turned into nationwide demonstrations against the ruling Justice and Development Party and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with police using water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets against the demonstrators.
The protests saw an estimated 2.5 million people take to the streets across Turkey over three weeks to demand resignation of Erdogan. More than 8,000 people were reportedly injured in the demonstrations, while nearly 10 people died.