Turkish Constitutional Court finds sentence justified in case of Gezi Park protestor killed by police

The Turkish Constitutional Court rejected an appeal from the family of Abdullah Cömert, 22, who was killed in southern Hatay province after being hit in the head by a tear gas cartridge fired by a police officer during the 2013 Gezi Park protests, Turkish media reported.

According to the top court, authorities had conducted a thorough investigation into the young man’s death, and the responsible police officer had been handed a proportionate prison sentence. Therefore, the appeal was found to be inadmissible by the court .

Cömert was injured on June 3, 2013 and later died in the hospital. Investigations into the circumstances of his death were concluded on April 14, 2014, and police officer Ahmet Kuş was accused of “voluntary manslaughter.” Kuş was not arrested pending trial and was initially sentenced to 13 years, four months in prison on March 14, 2016.

The sentence was overturned by the Supreme Court of Appeals, and Kuş was handed down a six year, 10 month sentence on November 19, 2018 for “gross negligence.”

The family criticized the court’s ruling, saying it was not a “fair decision” and that the sentence was too lenient. They argued that the police officer’s superiors should have also stood trial as they had given the order to fire tear gas cartridges.

“Abdullah Cömert was targeted and hit in the head,” said lawyer Hatice Can. “The incident was a deliberate act of killing, but the suspect was convicted of negligence.”

The Gezi Park demonstrations, which took place in the summer of 2013 in reaction to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s attempt to destroy one of the few green spaces left in İstanbul, quickly turned into a nationwide protest against the authoritarian policies of then-prime minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Eleven protestors died and thousands more were injured as they were brutally suppressed by the police on Erdoğan’s instructions.

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