Lawsuit filed against six police officers for torturing detainees of Gezi anniversary protest

A lawsuit was filed against six police officers for torturing three people at an Istanbul police station, who were detained during the Gezi anniversary protest in 2022.

Duvar English

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office has filed a lawsuit against six police officers for torturing detainees of the Gezi anniversary protest in Istanbul in 2022, online news outlet T24 reported on Nov. 14.

In the indictment, the prosecutors said the police officers beat Berkay Ustabaş, Berkan Bütün, and Sedef Özer “in unity of thought and action.”

In their statement, the officers claimed the detainees “were damaging government property and swearing at us, we thought they would escape.”

The prosecutors said the footage of the cameras in and witness statements refuted the police officers’ statements. Moreover, police officers handcuffing one detainee from their back was also considered an act of torture.

“The absence of any violent behavior (of detainees) and the number of findings in the forensic reports of the complainants showed that the police action exceeded the extent of sudden injury,” the indictment added.

One of the detainees, Berkay Ustabaş, said in his statement that he was punched in his chest repeatedly, and “(one of the) police officers tripped me, knocked me to the ground, and started pressing my head with his knee. He said to me, 'See, if you don't do what I say, this is what you deserve' and continued his violence. Others were also beating me at this time. Meanwhile, I was handcuffed from my back.” 

“There were police officers holding the door from inside. Shortly after, the person I thought was the supervisor walked in and said, 'I told you many times, can you do this here? There are lawyers outside, you are leaving us in a difficult situation, whatever you are doing, do it downstairs,” he added.

Gezi Park protests initially began in Istanbul in May 2013 as a reaction to renovation plans of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which aimed to construct a replica Ottoman barracks on the city's few remaining green spots. The protests later grew into nationwide protests and spread to other cities. The protestors faced extreme police violence, and eight civilians lost their lives.