[ 10. Nov 2010 ]

Istanbul: Criminal complaint against migrant solidarity network

Festus Okey - murdered by cops

On 20 August 2007, Festus Okey was shot dead by a police officer at the Istanbul Beyoglu Police Station. Activists of the migrant solidarity network presented a petition to intervene in the court case against the murderer. The court committee rejected and filed a criminal complaint against those who had signed onto the petition.


Festus Okey, a Nigerian migrant living in Istanbul, was killed by a bullet coming from the gun of police officer Cengiz Yildiz on 20 August 2007, while under custody at the Istanbul Beyoglu Police Station. A court case was opened against Yildiz on account of "causing death through negligence" with a prison sentence of three to six years. Yet, for over three years, the court case regarding Okey's death has been preoccupied with "establishing his identity" delaying the punishment of his murdered.

On 05 November 2010 the court convened again. Police officer Yildiz and his lawyer Mine Guler were present at the court proceedings
taking place at the Beyoglu 4th High Criminal Court. Activists from the Migrant Solidarity Network were also present at the court and presented a petition to intervene in the case, on the claim that they were harmed by the crime as individual citizens. Upon receiving the
petition, Court Director, Ishak Eken, posed the activists te following question: "Will you also intervene on behalf of those who left bombs in Taksim Square?"

The court committee not only rejected the petitions made by members of the Migrant Solidarity Network, but filed a criminal complaint
against those 9 individuals who had signed onto the petition, with the claim that the phrase deployed in their petition, "the case is being prolonged so as to cause a breach of confidence in justice; and that the ongoing procedural debates gloss over the fundamental issue at stake, namely the violation of the right to life," contains defamation against the committee of the court.

The court committee also agreed to initiate legal proceedings against lawyer Guray Dag, member of the Association of Contemporary Lawyers, for appearing on a television program where she allegedly criticized the court case proceedings and insulted the court committee through stating that "by creating this protracted situation they are trying to make people forget about the case and the case will result in the acquittal of the police officer."

Yet again, no new developments were made in the case regarding the murdering of Festus Okey. Court director Ishak Eken reminded the court that the information regarding the identification of Okey had been requested from the Ministry of Justice whose reply stated the case had been transferred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The court agreed to meet again on 27th of January 2011 and decided on requesting an answer from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.