Gezi protesters polluted mosque, court says

Gezi protesters polluted mosque, court says
(Friday, November 6, 2015) 18:06

Suspects in the Gezi park protests, including doctors, polluted a mosque by using it as a makeshift health center for injured protesters and by entering the building without removing their shoes, an Istanbul court has said in its reasoning for charges given to 244 suspects.

The 55th Criminal Court of First Instance in Istanbul, which on Oct. 23 sentenced 244 of 255 defendants to between two-and-a-half to 14 months, released its reasoning on Nov. 6. 

 “It is understood that the suspects polluted the worshipping house by entering the Dolmabahçe Bezm-i Alem Valide Sultan Mosque with the intention of instigating people who follow a certain religion. Although they have said that they had to enter the building with their shoes, they polluted the mosque by continuing to wear their shoes inside, turning the area into a makeshift health center,” said the judge Yener Yıldırım from Istanbul 55th Criminal Court in its reasoning.

The four defendants who were sentenced for “polluting a mosque” were doctors who provided emergency aid to protesters in the Dolmabahçe Bezm-i Alem Valide Sultan Mosque in Beşiktaş, where protesters injured in a police attack were being treated. The court said in its reasoning that it was not clear whether the doctors were among the protesters, but it was clear they had treated them in the mosque and did not turn them in to the police.

Some 255 protesters, including seven foreigners, were charged with a range of offenses including violating laws on demonstrations, “damaging public property,” “taking part in illegal demonstrations,” “causing interruptions in public services,” “damaging a place of worship” and “protecting criminals.” 

The indictment sought between one and 11.5 years in jail for the suspects. Only four of the defendants were acquitted, while charges against four other suspects were separated from the case file. 

According to the Oct. 23 ruling, four suspects were sentenced to 10 months of imprisonment for “polluting a mosque,” while two suspects were sentenced to two years, two months for “wearing doctors’ coats.” The local court, however, postponed the penalties.

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