Police response was proportional, says Justice Ministry in the case of ‘Saturday Mothers’ protestor whose arm was broken by police

The police did not use excessive force against Aydın Aydoğan, whose arm was broken by the police on August 25, 2018 during the 700th protest of the “Saturday Mothers,” a report by the Ministry of Justice has concluded, despite the existence of video recordings and photos of the incident, Turkish media reported.

Aydoğan had appealed to the Constitutional Court about police brutality after the public prosecutor’s office had refused to initiate an investigation despite the fact that he provided images and video recordings from the scene. Aydoğan said the police broke one of his arms, injured the other to the extent that it needed surgery and shot him in the back with several rubber bullets. The Constitutional Court referred the case to the Ministry of Justice to investigate whether excessive force was used.

In its report the human rights department of the Ministry of Justice said there wasn’t enough evidence to back up the claims of excessive force despite the images and video footage. According to the decision, “The protest was against the law, and the police had to intervene. Although the police verbally warned the group of 30 people, the group paid no attention. Finally, the police had to physically intervene.”

The Saturday Mothers have come together every week in İstanbul’s İstiklal Street since 1995 to silently protest extrajudicial killings and state-enforced disappearances involving their sons, husbands and fathers, mostly Kurds.

The group had wanted to hold their 700th gathering on İstiklal Street on August 25, 2018, the same way they had organized the previous 699 protests. However, the Beyoğlu district governor’s office refused to issue permission for the gathering to take place.

Nevertheless, the Saturday Mothers and other supporters moved forward with the gathering and are now charged with unlawfully attending protests and meetings.

The Saturday Mothers stressed that in a democratic country every citizen who demands justice should have the opportunity to express themselves in a peaceful manner. They said if citizens do not have that opportunity, then there can be no talk of democracy, justice or reform.

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