For almost a year now, we have been calling for justice in the case of Ali Ismail Korkmaz, who was savagely beaten to death – apparently by civilian police – during the course of Gezi Protests in June, 2013. Today, in Kayseri, a hearing is being held in the case. Amnesty’s Ruhat Sena Akşener and Andrea de Ruijter are there as observers and Turkish speakers can get twitter updates at @aforgutu and @ruhatsena
As Amnesty’s researcher on Turkey, Andrew Gardner, notes in a recent blog, Turkish authorities seemed determined to undermine the quest for justice in the case. Following the attack, the Governor of Eskisehir said that police hadn’t been involved and that Ali Ismail Korkmaz had been beaten up ‘by his friends.’ Footage from a CCTV camera was deleted in the days following the incident, but was subsequently recovered by experts from the gendarmerie.
Now, four civilians and four police who have been accused in the killing of Ali Ismail Korkmaz are on trial in the provincial Turkish city of Kayseri. Attempts by protesters to come to the city have been stymied and thousands of riot police were on hand for the first court session. But the mere fact that the trial is taking place is “extraordinary,” according to Gardner.
Ali Ismail was only 19 years old. He deserved a long and happy life. Now his family, and other families like his, deserve justice. Amnesty is in Kayseri today, working to ensure that his case is not forgotten.
Howard Eissenstat, St. Lawrence University
Updated with new graphics