Journalist Oktay Candemir was taken into custody on May 5, 2019 in Van.
Candemir was following People’s Democratic Party’s (HDP) press statement at Van’s Sanat Street, as he was taken into custody.
Police claimed that the press statement was forbidden. And did not allow the statement. Four more people who attended the press statement were taken into custody as well.
Custody process took a day. Candemir, on May 6, 2019, was released to pend trial.
The indictment was completed on October 4, 2019.
The indictment claimed that, based on the decision to forbid, warnings were made in order to break up the group, police had intervened after the group refused to break up.
During the police intervention, some people from the group were claimed to “have resisted and not let police perform its public duty by kicking and punching them”.
It was stated that one of the police officers on duty during the intervention, was lightly injured, and along with other police officers, had filed an official complaint against Candemir and four suspects.
The indictment stated that, within that scope, an investigation against five people, including Candemir, was launched.
Three police officers were the “complainants” of the indictment.
The indictment accused Candemir of “using force or threats against a public officer in order to prevent him from performing his duty” according to the article 265/1 of the Turkish Penal Code. Candemir was requested to be sentenced to, from six months to three years of imprisonment.
Journalist Oktay Candemir’s trial started with the first hearing on June 25, 2020 at Van 5th Criminal Court of First Instance. A new judge was assigned as the judge was excused. Candemir and his attorneys too, were not present at the hearing. The hearing was adjourned.
The second hearing was held on November 11th, 2020. Candemir attended the hearing with his lawyer Erhan Çiftçiler.
Candemir stated that he had followed the protest as a journalist. “During the protest, the police intervened and certain individuals from among the protesters were pushed to the ground and their hands were cuffed behind their back. At that point, I wanted to take out my camera and take photos, since that is my job.”
Candemir said that the police then handcuffed him behind his back: “I was pushed to the ground and then detained. I was there only to cover the protest. I did not challenge the police officers in any way,” he said and requested his acquittal.
Candemir also requested a deferment of the announcement of the verdict in case of a prison sentence.
His lawyer Erhan Çiftçiler argued that the indictment was based on ideological grounds: “Although there were cameras in the premises, there is no camera footage in the case file drafted by the prosecutor. Furthermore, there are medical reports confirming that the defendants were battered by the police. Four of the medical reports belong to the defendants, and one to a police officer, who sprained his finger while battering the defendants.”
Çiftçiler said, “Our prosecutors must stop acting like the police officers’ advocates. The court should not act according to ideological motives”.
The hearing was postponed to await lawyer Erhan Çiftçiler to submit his warrant of attorney.
The third hearing was scheduled for December 31st, 2020.
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