New prosecutor on Gezi victim Berkin Elvan's case seeks less time for police officer on trial

A newly appointed prosecutor to the case of Gezi victim Berkin Elvan has demanded in his final sentencing opinion (“mütalaa”) that the police officer on trial be convicted of “causing death by conscious negligence,” instead of “killing with eventual intent” as indicated in the original indictment. As per the Turkish Penal Code, a person convicted of "causing death by conscious negligence" can receive a sentence up to nine years, whereas "killing with eventual intent" foresees a life sentence.

The 19th hearing into the case of Berkin Elvan's death took place at the Istanbul 17th Heavy Penal Court on Jan. 29.

Filiz Gazi / DUVAR

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office has revised its initial charges against the police officer who fired a tear gas canister at 14-year-old Berkin Elvan, demanding that the suspect be convicted of “causing death by conscious negligence,” instead of “killing with eventual intent.”

The prosecutor submitted his final sentencing opinion (“mütalaa”) on the case on Jan. 29 to the Istanbul 17th Heavy Penal Court. He sought up to nine years in jail for the police officer in question, whereas the suspect faces life imprisonment should he be found guilty of “killing with eventual intent.”

Berkin Elvan
Elvan lost his life after 269 days in a coma.

Elvan was shot by a tear gas canister fired by police officer Fatih Dalgalı during the Gezi Park protests, which took place in Istanbul’s Taksim following harsh government response to a group of protesters trying to prevent the cutting down of trees for a large development project planned by the government in 2013.

Elvan died in March 2014 after 269 days in a coma.

The original indictment had demanded that Dalgalı, the sole suspect in the case, be penalized on the charge of “killing with eventual intent,” but the charge against him was revised after the prosecutor looking into the case was replaced in December.

The court board also saw a replacement in December, with the appointment of Mehmet Galip Perk as the chief judge overseeing the case.

On Jan. 25, Elvan family's lawyers filed a petition seeking the withdrawal of Judge Perk from the case due to his “biased” stance. Lawyers cited Perk's social media posts and previous decisions on the Gezi Park trials as the reason for their demand.

Lawyer Can Atalay said that the replacement of the previous judge when the case has come so close to being finalized “is unimaginable.”

“There is so much intervention against the judiciary in the country. The problem is with the system. This is why we demand that he [the new judge] withdraws on his own from the case,” Atalay said during the hearing on Jan. 29.

The court board asked police officer Dalgalı to submit his final defense, to which he demanded additional time.

The trial has been postponed to June 18.