After 40 days of being in custody, a police officer facing trial on charges of killing a Kurdish civilian allegedly by accident was released under judicial control by a Turkish court, the Mezopotamya News Agency (MA) reported on Thursday.
Recep Hantas, 20, a Kurdish citizen, was shot in the head and killed by police in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir, while he was sitting in the Sumer Park area with one of his friends at around 4 a.m. on April 14, media reports said.
Two police officers were directed to court with warrants for arrest on charges of “causing death by blatant negligence” following the incident. One of the officers was arrested by the court, while the other one was released under judicial control.
According to MA’s report, the arrested officer with the initials K.B. was also
released pending trial and placed under judicial supervision.
Mustafa Demir, the lawyer of K.B. objected to the decision by the Diyarbakır
2nd Penal Court of Peace to arrest the police officer. The Diyarbakır 5th Penal
Court of Peace then ruled to release the officer pending trial on May 24.
“It has been understood the continuation of the arrest will not be reasonable and
proportionate,” the court said in its ruling regarding the arrested police officer.
As the court decision commands, K.B. will have to go to the nearest police
station every Monday and Friday to append his signature. The court also
reportedly imposed an international travel ban.
While the police claimed the murder of Hantas was an accident, the Diyarbakir
Governor’s Office alleged through a statement the Kurdish man was shot dead
due to “ignoring a police warning to stop.”
It was also said in the statement another young man with the initials R.Y, a
friend of Hantas who was also at the park with him obeyed the warning and was
detained by police as part of an operation carried out in the area.
Hantas’ family members claim the murder was intentional. The deceased’s brother Efe Hantas alleged the police previously called his younger brother “terrorist,” during a criminal record check. He further claimed the police officer threatened his brother after the objected to the police’s call.
“I, therefore, do not believe either in a conflict or a shooting by mistake,” the brother told MA.