In 2012, a car hit Gökhan Demir in Istanbul while he was trying to cross the street. Demir lost his life after staying in a coma for nine days.
Salih Paşahan, the motorist, was caught four hours later. It emerged that he did not have a driving license, but he was released after officials took his statement.
Angered by the release of the driver responsible for her cousin’s death, Yasemin Usta started a battle against him in a bid to bring about justice and give him the punishment he deserves.
Usta managed to locate Paşahan and had him detained three months later. However, he was released once again, but a court case was opened against him for involuntary manslaughter.
During the trial, three expert reports proved that Paşahan was guilty. In 2014, the court handed the man six years and three months of jail term for causing death by dangerous driving.
Usta also had officials open lawsuits against the police officers who did not write a report on the accident and failed to talk to witnesses about the incident. The police officers also received more than two months of jail sentences for neglect of duty with the deferment of the announcement of the verdict.
In 2016, a penal chamber of the Court of Cassation turned down the court’s verdict, arguing that there was no evidence that the suspect was driving fast. The penal chamber sentenced the driver to four years and six months in prison for causing death by reckless conduct. It also ruled against the confiscation of Paşahan’s driving license.
“I do not want to die before those laws are changed,” said Usta, who also founded an association to help road accident victims. She launched videos with celebrities and victims to raise awareness.
“If you want to kill someone, just hit and run,” she said while commenting on the court’s verdict, noting that laws need to be harsher.
Hurriyet Daily News