Turkish police officer given deferred 20-month prison sentence for breaking demonstrator's arm

An Ankara court on Dec. 30 sentenced a police officer to one year and eight months in jail for breaking the arm of a protestor during a demonstration held in support of dismissed Turkish educators Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça. The court deferred the sentence, saying it believes the police officer in question will not commit a crime again.

Zeynal Danacı had his arm broken following police violence during a protest in 2017.

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A Turkish court on Dec. 30 handed down a one-year and eight-month prison sentence to a police officer for breaking the arm of a protestor during a demonstration in the capital Ankara in 2017, online news portal Bianet reported.

The court said it was deferring the sentence since it believed the police officer in question “would not commit a crime again on the basis of his personal traits and considering that he has no criminal record.”

Zeynal Danacı
Danacı at the hospital following the police violence.

The deferral of the sentence means that the police officer, only known by initials E.T., will not go to prison unless he commits an offense within the next five years.

The Ankara 18th Criminal Court of First Instance said that the security cameras had shown that the police officer had twisted Zeynal Danacı's arm in such a way that he broke it.

The police officer had previously defended himself by saying he was trying to detain Danacı “within the legal limits.”

Danacı's arm was broken when Ankara police intervened against a protest in support of hunger-striking educators Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça on July 23, 2017.

Police officers were recorded on camera dragging away several protestors and detaining them, one of whom was Danacı. Following the incident, Danacı filed a criminal complaint against the police officer in question and told the court: “The defendant police officer twisted my arm to my back. I told him, 'You will break it.' In response, he told me, 'Yes, I will break it, you will see it shortly.'”

Literature professor Gülmen and primary school teacher Özakça went on a hunger strike in March 2017 after losing their jobs with the state of emergency decrees.  

Gülmen and Özakça were arrested two months later on charges of belonging to the outlawed militant leftist Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party (DHKP-C). The authorities released Özakça in October 2017 and Gülmen in December 2017. 

After spending almost 11 months in hunger strike, Gülmen and Özakça ended their protest in January 2018.