Press Freedom

Administrative court: The police used disproportionate force while detaining AFP reporter Kılıç

Foto: Hacı Bişkin, Gazete Duvar.

The İstanbul 8th Administrative Court found that the police officers who detained photojournalist Bülent Kılıç while he was covering the 19th İstanbul Pride, used “disproportionate force” and ordered a total of 30.095 Turkish Liras to be paid to the journalist for the damages.

Media and Law Studies Association’s (MLSA) Legal Unit had filed a compensation suit on behalf of Bülent Kılıç, a photojournalist from Agence France-Presse (AFP), who was subjected to police violence while covering the 19th İstanbul LGBTI+ Pride March. Kılıç’s lawyers had requested that the journalist be compensated for his damaged cameras and the period of time he was not able to work due to the damage inflicted on his work equipment.

After having examined the expert’s report and the photos of the incident, the court handed down its judgment on 8 December 2022. The court found that “the elements of misconduct occurred” as the police officers who had detained the journalist “used excessive force by transgressing their right to use of force.”

The court ordered the payment of 10,095.58 Turkish Liras for material damages and 20,000 for non-pecuniary damages.

In its judgment, the court also recalled that the criminal investigation by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office against two police officers for “intentional injury” and “misuse of public duty” is still ongoing.

MLSA Co-Director Veysel Ok welcomed the court’s judgment and stated: “In a period of increasing police violence towards journalists, the judgment reminds police officers that they must abide by the law while approaching journalists. The Ministry of Interior must pass the amount to be paid in damages on to police officers who ill-treated the journalist so that these arbitrary violence targeting journalists can end. We will be closely following the criminal investigation and the subsequent lawsuit. We believe that this is a good judgment and as MLSA we will continue to work so that similar judgments become more frequent.”

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