On 23 April 2009, the day that marks the annual children's day in Turkey, a juvenile in the south-eastern province of Hakkari was chased, caught and beat with a rifle but by a special operations police officer. The 17-year-old was severely injured in the incident. To his defence, the police officer stated at court that his "psychological situation was bad" at the time.
The juvenile had attended a protest action regarding the operation against the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP), which was banned by the Constitutional Court later on. Many people allegedly affiliated with the legal political party were arrested in the course of the operation. A 14-year-old juvenile rolled into a nearby stream when he was trying to escape from the police and died.
This time, the lawyers' efforts resulted in a trial opened against he policeman who beat the juvenile with a rifle but. Yet, many comparable incidents are being filed away without investigation. However, this incident was being recorded. The very same day, television channels all over the country broadcasted the footage of an armed police officer in a camouflage suit and a snow mask chasing a young person and beating him until he was lying on the ground.
The video showed that the police officer left the juvenile on the ground when he was not moving anymore and went away with another police man who had been watching.
Children alleged to have thrown gas bombs
The trial against defendant Bahadır Turan was transferred to Isparta in south-western Turkey last week for security reasons.
Police officer Turan stands accused of injury. However, lawyer Münip Ermiş told bianet that they demanded a prosecution on charges of the "attempt to deliberate homicide" and "torture". Ermiş also said that they demanded to have the trial heard before a high criminal court instead of a criminal court of first instance. Furthermore, the plaintiff lawyer requested the arrest of the defendant.
The indicted police officer attended the hearing on 4 February and presented his defence. He claimed that they had "continuously experienced demonstrations for three or four months and thus they were psychologically tensed". Turan said that it was not their duty to intervene against the incident of that day but that they were only responsible for providing security.
The police man claimed that the children attacked them with stones, Molotov cocktails and tear gas and that the young victims were masked and carried stones. He said that he ran away from the scene after he tried to protect himself; otherwise, he would have not left the juvenile behind, the police officer stated. The video footage on the other hand does not show any stones in the hands of the victim. It features his uncovered face and how he tried to escape from the police.
The governorship announced their "sorrow" about the incident. Turan was suspended from duty. Lawyer Ermiş informed bianet that the police officer was still on duty in the south-eastern city of Malatya though.
The trial will be continued on 9 June.
The juvenile spend some time in the intensive care unit before he was discharged from hospital. His cousin said in an interview with bianet that the victim is having massive psychological problems and had to leave school.
Lawyer Fahri Timur, member of the Bar Association of the Kurdish-majority city of Hakkari, made an effort to bring the police officers involved in the incident to court. He followed the case up until it was transferred to Isparta. Timur said that in fact police forces are usually being protected in this type of incidents and that impunity became normal.
Ten people died in the course of incidents in Diyarbakır (south-eastern Turkey) in March 2006. A trial was opened for only one incident. (EÜ/VK)