Turkey: Police convicted of beating café worker for playing Kurdish music
Eight months prison sentences were issued by Turkish authorities to two police officers who beat up a 28-year-old man for playing an Ahmet Kaya song in a café, reported Antenna.tr
Police officers referred to as ‘M.B.’ and ‘B.O.’ were each condemned to eight months prison sentences and expelled from the police force for beating up İbrahim Sil in Aydın’s Kuşadası Borough in 2004. Sil was listening to a song by poet and singer Ahmet Kaya in the café where he worked. Ahmet Kaya (1957-2000) is considered a leading Kurdish artist in Turkey.
The incident took place on 24 June 2004 at 05:00 in the morning at Efes Buffet. İbrahim Sil, who had worked at the same place for five years, was listening to an Ahmet Kaya song. Two officers in civilian clothes told Sil to turn it off. One officer followed Sil in as he turned the music off and wanted to take the tape. İbrahim Sil said to the officer, “The tape is not mine, I cannot give it to you”.
Officer M.B. is accused of hitting Sil with his mobile phone. Sil fell down and then officer B.O. punched him. The police officers put him in a police car and took him to the station. There, they pressured him not to complain against them.
İbrahim Sil suffered broken bones on his face and jaw and had to take leave from his work for 25 days. Sil’s lawyer Fuat Aldemir lodged a complaint against the two officers. Public Prosecutor Bilgehan Ertan investigated the incident which took four years.
M.B. and B.O. were appointed to police in other cities in the meanwhile. The Prosecutor received their deposition in 2008. The two accused denied any involvement in the incident. They claimed that they were on duty for Anti-Terror Branch between the hours of 8:00 PM and 08:00 AM and they did not know Sil or about the attack.
Eyewitnesses came forward and stated that the two officers beat up Sil and took him in for listening to an Ahmet Kaya song. İbrahim Sil positively identified the pictures of the two officers.
Prosecutor Ertan filed a case against the two officers with the charge of ‘mistreatment, threat and wrongful arrest’ which can give prison sentences for up to nine years.
Judge Gültekin Remzi Yüksel of Kuşadası Criminal Court Number 1 condemned the officers to eight months prison sentences each and banned them from their profession for ‘mistreatment’.