Gezi, One year on: Hunting the protestors down

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One year after the Gezi protests, none of those responsible for the violence committed against the protesters has been sentenced, assert our organizations in a report released today. On the other hand, 97 cases have been opened against 5653 peaceful demonstrators. The research also reveals that Turkish autorities have, year-round, adopted a series of laws which have been progressively shrinking the space for rights and freedoms in the country.

"Not only do the Turkish authorities have no will to hold those responsible for human rights violations to account," said FIDH President Karim Lahidji. "They are actively engaging in a witch-hunt against those who participated in the protests or spoke out."

Turkey is facing a crisis unlike any it has had in its life. For the first time, the wrath of the people has been transferred to the streets. The 30-page report "Gezi, One Year On: Witch-hunt, impunity of law enforcement officials and a shrinking space for rights and freedoms" also documents the systematic repression of non violent movement in the streets and the disproportionate use of police force. Tear-gas grenades intended for crowd dispersion were turned into lethal weapons against the demonstrators, systematically. As a result of this, 11 people have died since the beginning of the protest, including a 15-year-old boy.

Victims of police violence who have demanded justice, have been confronted to blatant reluctance from public prosecutors to bring their cases to court and ensure that justice is done. Prosecutors and public authorities’ have demonstrated no rush or will to prosecute perpetrators of human rights violations. Thus the impunity prevails.

On the other hand, prosecutors have shown an active commitment to pursue non-violent protestors, members of the media, social media users and even physicians involved in providing urgent care to those wounded.

Beyond the streets and the courts, the repression of the Gezi movement has also turned up in legislative initiatives that curtail rights and freedoms, and centralises power in the hands of the Executive. The Turkish Grand National Assembly has adopted laws subjecting the judicial profession to the control of the Executive, criminalizing emergency health care, expanding the Executive’s control over the Internet and further truncating freedom of expression and information. 

Based on compelling evidence, our three organizations ask the Turkish authorities and the international community to set up an internationally supervised and independent investigation into all cases of human rights violations committed by law enforcement officials in the context of the Gezi protests. In addition, the international community must immediately suspend and ban all exports and sales of crowd control material to Turkey while peaceful protests continue to be met with the disproportionate use of force.

In the first 60 days of the protests, 8,163 individuals were wounded, of which at least 43 heavily. Through the year, 10 people died after having been beaten, shot in the head by a canister or as a result of teargas suffocation. One more person was killed by a live bullet.

Read the report "Gezi, One Year On : Witch hunt, impunity of law enforcement officials and a shrinking space for rights and freedoms"

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