Turkish court releases 3 policemen arrested for allegedly beating 14-year-old Kurdish boy 

A Turkish court has ruled to release from pretrial detention three police officers who were arrested for allegedly beating a 14-year-old Kurdish boy during Nevruz celebrations in March in the predominantly Kurdish province of Diyarbakır, the TR724 news website reported.

A hearing in the case was held at the Diyarbakır 1st High Criminal Court on Thursday.

The court said the elements of the crime of torture were lacking and ruled for the release of the police officers from pretrial detention. The remaining charges leveled against them will be heard by a lower court. 

The boy, known only by the initials Y.D., was held in a police car and severely beaten by officers during the festivities in March, according to local reports.

The Diyarbakır Bar Association on March 22 filed a criminal complaint against the police officers alleging “unlawful detention,” “physical and verbal assault” and “torture and inhumane treatment.” 

The officers were then arrested on March 27 by the Lice Criminal Court of First Instance. The local court had said the case should be tried by a higher court due to the torture allegations. 

Nevruz is traditionally marked by Kurds in the second half of March as the first day of spring, with colorful celebrations across the country’s predominantly Kurdish southeast. However, the celebrations, which have a highly symbolic meaning for Kurds, have often been marred by heavy-handed police intervention.

A report on Nevruz celebrations in Turkey drafted by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu revealed that nine people have been killed by security officers in such festivities during President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s more than two-decade-long rule.

This year’s Nevruz festivities were no exception. During a Nevruz event in İstanbul on Sunday, 224 people were detained for bringing “illegal banners” to the square and “causing outrage by shouting illegal slogans,” according to a statement from the İstanbul Governor’s Office.

The police also detained approximately 200 people in Diyarbakır on the grounds that they violated the Law on Demonstrations and Public Meetings and for resisting police officers. 

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