Press Freedom

MLSA files compensation suit on behalf of journalist Bülent Kılıç

Foto: Hacı Bişkin, Gazete Duvar.

Media and Law Studies Association’s (MLSA) Legal Unit filed a compensation suit on behalf of Bülent Kılıç, a photojournalist from Agence France-Presse (AFP), who was subjected to police violence while he followed the 19th İstanbul LGBTI+ Pride March. 

The compensation request explains in detail that Kılıç was in Beyoğlu’s Mis Street on June 26 to photograph the Pride March, which was bashed by law enforcement officials. In addition to immaterial damages, the petition also requests material damages for the damaged cameras of the journalist and the period of time he was not able to work due to the damage to his work equipment. 

The footage and photos of Kılıç’s detainment had reminded everyone of the murder of George Floyd by police; international organizations had condemned Kılıç’s agonizing detainment.

The petition states that police prevented Kılıç from doing his job, took his camera, struck it in his face and threw it onto the ground. Kılıç had told them he was a journalist but was not even granted the opportunity to show his press card. Footage of Kılıç being knocked to the ground by two police officers who stepped on his back and pressed their knees on his neck were also attached to the petition.

Moreover, the petition also included Kılıç’s statement after the incident where he said that the police officer who kept pressing on his neck despite the fact that he said he could not breathe, attempted to murder him. It was also noted that the journalist was dragged on the ground until he reached the detainment vehicle, subjected to use of force which violates the prohibition of torture and battery since he showed no resistance, and that there occurred scars on his hands, arms and throat. 

In this respect, the petition claimed material and immaterial damages on the grounds that the use of force by police officers over Kılıç was unlawful. Additionally, it was mentioned that the Beyoğlu Police Chief had apologized to the journalist and attempted to repair his cameras, which, nevertheless, were delivered to Kılıç in an unusable condition.