Municipal employee who lost his eye due to Gezi Park police violence awarded $3,000 in damages

Muharrem Dalsüren (Photo: Evrensel)

An administrative appeals court in Ankara has ordered the state to pay TL 100,000 ($3,000) in non-pecuniary damages to Muharrem Dalsüren, a municipal worker who in 2013 lost one of his eyes due to a tear gas canister fired by the police during the nationwide Gezi Park protests, the T24 news website reported on Monday.

Dalsüren, was hit by a canister on June 3, 2013 while he was doing his job as a municipal janitor in a central district of the capital city, the report said.

The court rejected Dalsüren’s demand for pecuniary damages on the grounds that he had been receiving a disability pension since October 2016 while increasing the amount of non-pecuniary damages established by the lower administrative court, which had found Dalsüren partially at fault for “failing to ensure his personal safety” during the violent events.

The protests in 2013 erupted over government plans to demolish Gezi Park in the Taksim neighborhood of İstanbul. They quickly turned into mass anti-government demonstrations that were violently suppressed by the government, leading to the death of 11 protestors due to the use of disproportionate force by the police.

Human rights groups routinely accuse the Turkish judiciary of granting impunity to law enforcement officers accused of involvement in incidents of disproportionate use of force, misconduct, mistreatment and torture, sometimes despite substantial evidence.

Many say there is no longer a separation of powers in the country and that members of the judiciary are under the control of the government and cannot make judgments based on the law.

Turkey was ranked 117th among 142 countries in the rule of law index published by the World Justice Project (WJP) in October, dropping one rank in comparison to the previous year.

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