A local court Aug. 18 demanded two years in jail for a police officer who praised the officer who fired the teargas canister that struck Berkin Elvan’s head during last year’s Gezi protests in Istanbul, inflicting a fatal injury.
Elvan, then 14, was injured June 16 as he went to the street to buy bread in his neighborhood of Okmeydanı, despite the clashes with the police. He eventually died March 11 after spending over nine months in coma, triggering massive public outrage.
The officer, identified only as U.Ç., reacted the same day to the cancelations of police officers’ leave over potential protests by insulting Elvan and praising the officer’s actions on his personal Facebook account. “I kiss the hands of the riot police who fired at your head … that’s how they f*** your mother you son of a b**** if you go to buy bread as such,” U.Ç. wrote on his personal account.
The 4th High Crimes Court of Istanbul’s Bakırköy district had quashed a previous judgment, ruling there was no need for an investigation, opening a lawsuit on charges of “praising a crime and a criminal.” The first hearing of the trial is set to be held Dec. 23.
Elvan became the eighth and youngest protester to die as a result of the brutal police crackdown in waves of protests that spread following the demonstrations against the destruction of Gezi Park. The police have been accused of protecting the officers responsible for Elvan’s death, while the young Gezi victim’s lawyer has released video footage and photographs hoping to shed light onto the killing.