Press Freedom

A criminal complaint has been filed against police officers who battered journalist Zilan Azad

Ferhat Yaşar/Duvar

The lawyers of the Media and Law Association’s (MLSA) Legal Unit have filed a criminal complaint against police officers who battered and verbally harassed journalist Zilan Azad while covering the September 1 World Peace Day event in Kadıköy. The criminal complaint against the police officers has been filed for “intentional injury”, “torture”, “torment”, “deprivation of liberty”, “violation of the freedom to work and labor”, “misuse of public duty” and “sexual harassment.”

Journalist Zilan Azad was violently taken into police custody at Kadıköy’s İskele Square while covering the September 1 World Peace Day event in Kadıköy organized by the İstanbul Labor, Peace and Democracy Forces.

Even though she had identified herself as a journalist, Azad was battered with blows to her waist and arms while her hair was pulled by police officers and was eventually put into the police bus with her hands cuffed behind her back. However, a police officer continued the violence inside the bus as well.

MLSA lawyers filed a criminal lawsuit with the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office against the police officers and police chiefs in charge at the date for “intentional injury”, “torture”, “torment”, “deprivation of liberty”, “violation of the freedom to work and labor”, “misuse of public duty” and “sexual harassment.” Arguing that the violence Azad was subjected to that day has been recorded with a medical report which Azad got immediately after the said police brutality, MLSA lawyers asked of the prosecutor’s office that the identities of the police officers and chiefs be determined and a criminal investigation be initiated against them.

Arguing that Azad was subjected to harassment, torture and insults by the police officers, MLSA lawyers further argued: “It is beyond dispute that our client was there on the said date to cover the protest and the march as a journalist. It is impossible that law enforcement officers were not aware of this fact as the client, who also carried a professional camera around her neck, continuously identified herself as a journalist. It is clear that the said interference by the police officers was deliberately directed towards a journalist. The client states that police officers individually targeted her whom they knew to be a journalist, arbitrarily deprived her of liberty and subjected her to torture and abuse by repeatedly kicking and punching her but also harassing her sexually. The injuries which were the result of said violence could also be seen easily with the naked eye. The client was dragged on the floor almost all the way to the police bus. The client who did not act in any way to require such use of force which amounted to torture and mistreatment.”