News / Middle East

Jail Term Sought for Turkish Policeman Who Tear Gassed 'Lady in Red'

Turkish riot policeman uses tear gas as people protest destruction of trees in a park brought about by a pedestrian project, Taksim Square, Istanbul, May 28, 2013.
Turkish riot policeman uses tear gas as people protest destruction of trees in a park brought about by a pedestrian project, Taksim Square, Istanbul, May 28, 2013.
Reuters
The "lady in the red dress," hair billowing upwards from the blast of a Turkish policeman's tear gas gun, became a central image of summer anti-government protests across Turkey. Now the policeman faces prosecution demands for a jail term of up to three years, a legal source said on Wednesday.
 
An indictment accused police officer Fatih Zengin of using excessive force by spraying the woman from less than a meter away even though she had not been engaged in any provocative acts, Turkish media reports said.
 
The image of Ceyda Sungur, an academic at Istanbul Technical University, being sprayed as she strolled across a central square in a summer dress, bag over shoulder, was shared endlessly on social networking sites and depicted on stickers and posters at protest camps.
 
June's protests began as a peaceful demonstration against plans to bulldoze a park in central Istanbul, but escalated into an unprecedented show of defiance against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government after police used tear gas and water cannon to try to clear the site.
 
At least seven people, including a police officer, were killed in unrest which spread to cities around the country, tarnishing Turkey's image abroad and raising concern about Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian style. Erdogan blamed the unrest on a foreign-backed conspiracy.
 
Erdogan's supporters have cast a corruption scandal shaking his government this month as orchestrated by the same forces.
 
The graft investigation, which emerged with the detention of businessmen close to the government and three ministers' sons on Dec. 17, has grown into one of the biggest challenges of Erdogan's 11-year rule.
 
The prosecutor in the "lady in red" case was seeking dismissal for the officer and a prison term of up to three years on the grounds that no warning was issued prior to the incident, the legal source said.

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by: Godwin from: Nigeria
January 16, 2014 8:56 AM
It is all part of Erdogan's islamization campaign. The woman in red was tear-gassed because she was not dressed in the mediaval, Stone Age or Dark Age islamic masquerading, mask or hijab as they call it. If left to disappear, it will go a long way in further emasculating and intimidating the minority non-muslim communities and population in Turkey whose holy cites and artifacts Erdogan wants to ensure he obliterated before his terms run out.

And he may continue with this campaign of intimidation of Christians, secularists and women when he succeeds to become the country's president at the end of his tenure as prime minister. Three years and a sack are too minimal to serve as a deterrent to others who nurse the same jihandi feeling against peoples of other faiths in the country. It's time the UN peace keeping force in the region took on more responsibilities to protect lives and rights of those living in bondage in their own countries in the region because of the intimidation of such extremist groups as Hezbollah, al qaida and governments that will not allow citizens live freely in their God-given freedoms and rights.

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