Istanbul prosecutor dismisses torture charges in death of heart disease patient at police station

Despite knowing his illness, Istanbul police officers severely beat a heart disease patient at Esenyurt Police Station, eventually causing his death. Dismissing the “intentional killing” charge, the prosecutor is demanding that the police officers in question are sentenced on the charge of “causing death by gross negligence,” which merely corresponds to 12 years in prison.  

Duvar English

In his final sentencing opinion (“mütalaa”) about the death of citizen Birol Yıldırım at a police station in Istanbul, a prosecutor asked that the police officers in question be sentenced on charges of “causing death by gross negligence.”

If the court approves of the prosecutor’s demand, seven police officers, who are currently on trial without arrest, will each get mere 12 years in prison, according to reporting by the online news report Diken.

Yıldırım was a manager at a private security firm. On June 5, 2021, his colleague B.U. got into an argument with a police officer and was detained.

Yıldırım wanted to find out about what happened to his colleague and went to the Esenyurt Police Station at around 10.30 p.m. local time. However, once he inquired about his colleague, he was also detained at around 11.30 p.m. And at around 3 a.m. on June 6, a police officer told Yıldırım’s relatives that he died, with the Istanbul Governor’s Office indicating the cause of death as “heart attack.”

Shortly after his death, Diken uncovered security camera footages which revealed that Yıldırım was beaten by police officers and tortured. Despite these footages, the police officers in question were not removed from duty. On Aug. 19, 2021, two police officers were detained in connection with the investigation -- one of whom was arrested (only to be released in less than a year). And a couple of days later, the Büyükçekmece Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office drafted an indictment with regards to 12 police officers in total.

In the 7th hearing of the case overseen at the Bakırköy 13th Heavy Penal Court, prosecutor Oğuzhan Atamtürk Uyar revealed his final sentencing opinion. He said that Yıldırım was kept at the police station’s kitchen and beaten on the day of his death. Despite him saying he has a stent placed on his coronary artery, police officers continued with the beating, worsening his heart illness and causing Yıldırım’s death.

The prosecutor demanded that seven police officers receive a sentence for “causing death by gross negligence” whereas the other five officers are acquitted of the charges.

The trial has been postponed to Sept. 18, and the court is expected to give its verdict on this day.