Top Turkish court upholds 7-month jail sentence for police officer in Ali İsmail Korkmaz's death case

Turkey’s Court of Cassation upheld the sentence of 7 months and 15 days of imprisonment for the police officer involved in the mob attack and killing of Ali İsmail Korkmaz during the Gezi Park protests. The Constitutional Court has previously ruled that the police officer’s action was a "violation of the prohibition of torture” yet, the top appeals court disregarded this ruling.

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Turkey’s Court of Cassation upheld the 7 months and 15 days of imprisonment sentence given to police officer Hüseyin Engin for "simple intentional injury" in the case regarding the killing of 19-year-old university student Ali İsmail Korkmaz during the Gezi Park protests in Eskişehir province. 

The 1st Criminal Chamber of the top court of appeals has completed its appeal review of the verdict of the local court, which held a retrial following the Constitutional Court's decision on the police officer’s involvement in Korkmaz’s death as a "violation of the prohibition of torture.” 

The top court of appeals argued that the attack of police officer Engin against Korkmaz "took place sometime after the actions of the defendants outside the case, there was an interval between the independent actions" and that there was no causal link between the police officer's action and the death of Korkmaz. 

The chamber also ruled that the material and moral elements of the Constitutional Court's (AYM) decision on "violation of the prohibition of torture" did not occur, and thus, it decided to uphold the judgment of the local court.

After Korkmaz was attacked,Engin deleted the recordings of the hotel cameras overlooking the street and footage of his actions was added to the case file.

Shopkeepers and police officers on June 2, 2013, attacked Korkmaz in Eskişehir province during the demonstrations in support of the Gezi Park protests. 

The hospital that he went to after the attack did not treat Korkmaz and discharged him after 3.5 hours of observation. Korkmaz went to the hospital again afterward, was taken to intensive care, and died on July 10, 2013.

The local court in 2015 sentenced police officers Mevlüt Saldoğan to 10 years and 10 months, Yalçın Akbulut to 10 years, and bakers İsmail Koyuncu, Ramazan Koyuncu, and Muhammet Vatansever to six years and 8 months each. Police officer Engin was acquitted.

The Court of Cassation, which examined the file upon appeal, overturned Engin's acquittal verdict and upheld the other sentences. In the retrial, Engin was sentenced to 7 months and 15 days for "simple intentional injury" and the announcement of the verdict was deferred.

Upon this ruling, Korkmaz's family made an individual application to the AYM. The Constitutional Court unanimously ruled that the prohibition of torture was violated and that the applicants should be paid a total of 67,500 liras in compensation. The top court had also sent the case to the local court for retrial.

The local court in January 2023 reinstated its previous judgment.