Police intentionally killed student at 2017 Nevruz celebrations: expert report

An expert report has revealed that university student and musician Kemal Kurkut was deliberately killed by a police officer during Nevruz celebrations in 2017.

During the fifth hearing in the police officer’s trial on Thursday the Diyarbakır 7th High Criminal Court confirmed  that it had received the expert report prepared by the private National Criminal Bureau.

According to the report Kurkut was not killed by a stray bullet but purposely shot by the police officer, who was identified only by the initials Y.Ş. The report claims slow-motion footage of the shooting analyzed by forensic experts proves the victim was shot from behind when the suspect fired his pistol.

The report also points to evidence from the autopsy report that is line with the characteristics of the bullet hole in the victim’s body, which also showed he was directly targeted.

One of the two officers who were detained on the day of the incident, March 21, 2017, were released after testifying to a prosecutor, while the other was freed on judicial probation by the court during his arraignment.

The lawyers for the Kurkut family criticized the court ruling when it was learned that the judicial probation was also lifted in January 2019 on the grounds that the defendant did not pose a flight risk and continued to work as a civil servant.

The court rejected a request for arrest from the family’s lawyers and ruled for a new ballistics and expert report from the Council of Forensic Medicine, a government agency.

Kurkut was studying in the fine arts department of the faculty of music at Malatya’s İnönü University and traveled to his hometown of Diyarbakır for Nevruz celebrations in 2017. He was staying with his brother.

A bare-chested Kurkut quarreled with police at a checkpoint when he was trying to get into the venue, photos taken during the incident showed.

In a statement issued on the day of the incident, the Diyarbakır Governor’s Office said Kurkut told police, “There’s a bomb in my bag.” The photos show the student was carrying a knife but did not have a bag with him.

Police found poetry books and clothes in Kurkut’s backpack after he was shot on suspicion that he was a suicide bomber.

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