Turkish court acquits activist on trial over LGBTI+ Pride picnic

The last hearing of a case against a participant of the 2021 Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride March took place on Feb. 21. The activist was acquitted of the charges. As a result, trials of 40 activists accused in different cases for their participation in the 2021 Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week events have come to an end.

Photograph / KaosGL

Duvar English

A Turkish court has acquitted the last defendant in a case concerning the charges levied against 40 people for their participation in the 2021 Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week events. 

The relevant person was facing charges of attempting to take part in a picnic organized at Maçka Park as part of the 2021 Istanbul LGBTI+ Pride Week. 

The defendant was initially accused of "insulting a police officer" and "spitting in his face." However, aferwards, during the trial process, the police officer in question admitted that the accused person did not spit in his face, according to Yıldız Tar from KaosGL.

The charges came although the picnic at Maçka Park was prevented by a brutal police attack and ended up with one participants' arms being broken. 

The Istanbul 44th Criminal Court of First Instance on Feb. 21 ruled for the accused person's acquittal.

This is not the first time that a person has faced charges over their participation in the 2021 Istanbul Pride March events. Six separate lawsuits were filed against another 39 people, including two children, for their participation in the events held throughout the city. They were previously all acquitted of the charges. 

In their opinion pieces ("mütalaa"), none of the prosecutors included the existence of police torture against the 40 defendants. The activists said that the launch of separate lawsuits against them intended to reduce public support.

The violence against LGBTI events also took place in 2022. On June 26 2022, a total of 373 LGBTI+s and LGBTI+ rights defenders were detained. This number is a record both in the history of Pride Marches in Turkey and in other street protests.