Expert report confirms police violence on Saturday Mothers’ Protest

Expert report confirms police violence on Saturday Mothers’ Protest
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Evidence of excessive force used during the 700th-week rally led to broken bones and injuries.

Aydin Aydogan, a victim of police brutality during the 700th week of Saturday Mothers/People’s protest on August 25, 2018, finds vindication in an expert report confirming the excessive use of force by the officers. The information was part of an investigation following a controversial crackdown that left many injured and nearly 100 detained.

The report sheds light on video footage capturing when Aydogan’s arm was broken. It describes police officers advancing before one officer forcefully pushes Aydogan to the ground. This incident, among others, occurred as attendees gathered at Hatzopoulo Passage in Beyoglu (Pera) to commemorate the disappeared loved ones, only to be met with police resistance, including pepper gas attacks and rubber bullets.

A battle for justice

Following the violence, Aydogan, alongside Maside Ocak and rights defender Leman Yurtsever, lodged a criminal complaint. When the initial complaint was dismissed, Aydogan took his case to the Constitutional Court (AYM), which ruled in his favor, stating the officers violated the prohibition of ill-treatment and ordered their prosecution. The AYM also awarded Aydogan 60,000 Turkish Liras in non-pecuniary damages.

The expert report, prepared upon request of the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, further cements Aydogan’s case, offering a detailed examination of 17 files containing video footage and photographs of the police crackdown. Among the documented abuses was the police’s use of tear gas, captured in a video that, despite its low resolution, showed officers directing the gas guns toward the protesters.

Echoes of violence

The abuse wasn’t isolated to Aydogan. The report included photographic evidence of his injuries from rubber bullets and analyzed footage of police brutality against other relatives of the disappeared and rights defenders during their detention. One notable instance captured an officer squeezing a male activist by the neck and striking him with his knee during the arrest.

The events of that day, marred by violence, were linked to the instructions of the then Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, according to Aydogan. Soylu had publicly targeted the Saturday Mothers, accusing them of abusing the concept of motherhood and using it as a cover for terrorist organizations. The criminal complaint against Soylu was forwarded to the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and remains open.