The Legal Team of the Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) filed a criminal complaint with the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office against police chief Hanifi Zengin who had threatened Artı TV cameraman Bilal Meyveci and prevented him from covering a protest. Following the criminal complaint, the lawyers of the MLSA’s Legal Team who represent Meyveci have been notified by the Provincial Administration Board of the İstanbul Governorship that the General Directorate of Security (EGM) has launched an inquiry against police chief Zengin.
Police Chief Hanifi Zengin against whom women’s rights organizations filed a criminal complaint after a video of him harassing a woman during the 2022 İstanbul Pride March and who had AFP reporter Bülent Kılıç taken into custody during the March, recently made the headlines because of his attitude and threats against journalists who were covering the Ekrem Karakaya protest of healthcare workers on June 7, 2022. Zengin had threatened journalist Meyveci by saying “Did you record it? Did you record me stepping on your foot? Did you record me stepping on your foot because I will see you later if you didn’t!” Following this incident, MLSA’s Legal Team filed a criminal complaint against Hanifi Zengin and other law enforcement officers who may have been involved on behalf of Bilal Meyveci for “misuse of public duty”, “threat” and “violation of the freedom to work and labour.”
In the criminal complaint filed, the footage of the incident and the witnesses were presented to the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and it was requested that the witnesses be also heard. Emphasizing the importance of the freedom of the press for a democratic society, MLSA lawyers further argued “It is the duty of the press to inform the public on matters concerning the public. It is without a doubt that the prevention of journalists by law enforcement officers who also mistreat and threaten journalists constitutes a serious violation of the right to inform the public.” In the criminal complaint, it was requested that a thorough investigation be carried out and that the suspects be prosecuted.
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