The Turkish authorities did not see corpus delicti in the actions of the Turkmen activists who came on July 19, 2020 to picket at the consulate of Turkmenistan in Istanbul.
On December 23 at 11:00 a.m. in Istanbul, in the Bakyrkoy District Court, a trial of five Turkmen activists was held, who in June 2020 were accused by employees of the Turkmen consulate of violating public order and threatening diplomats with violence.
As a result of the trial, Agayeva Merjen, Gochiyeva Khamragul, Muradov Parahat, Taganova Dursoltan and Rasulova Khanum were acquitted “due to the absence of corpus delicti in their actions”.
We previously reported that on July 19, 2020, the citizens of Turkmenistan, who are in Istanbul, planned to hold a rally at the Turkmen consulate, demanding a change of power, criticizing corruption, hiding the truth about the coronavirus. Many intended to demand that the consulate exchange expired passports for new ones and allow Turkmen citizens to return to their homeland.
Due to the large number of participants, the Turkish authorities banned it, citing restrictions due to the coronavirus. Turkish police began arrests even before the rally. The case file mentions that some were detained right at the exit of the Marmara metro, at a decent distance from the assembly point. As it turned out, the consulate of Turkmenistan informed the Turkish police in advance about the upcoming action, which allegedly interferes with the work of Turkmen diplomats and about threats of violence against them.
According to a police source, 53 people were taken to the Yeshilkoy police station and after 4-5 hours almost all the detainees were released. Only the activist Dursoltan Taganova remained in custody, whose documents were overdue. (On October 20, she was sent to the Silivri Deportation Center and, after the intervention of international human rights organizations, she was released on November 12, 2020).
Based on the complaint of the employees of the General Consulate of Turkmenistan against five activists, the police launched an investigation, and later the Turkish prosecutor's office initiated case No. 2020 / 633/25 against them on charges of violating the Law on assemblies and demonstrations.
Among dozens of posters that were confiscated from the protesters, the Turkmen consulate drew the attention of the police to three with the following inscriptions: “Dictator, go away! You are not Arkadag (Patron) for us”, “Our state is digging a grave for its people!”, “Dictatorship is over” .
According to testimonies at the trial, it turned out that the four defendants did not have any posters, and D.Taganova had a poster in her hands with the inscription “Turkish police helped a homeless Turkmen citizen.” As the activist said at the trial: “With this poster, I wanted to draw the attention of the Turkmen regime to the problems that the Turkish authorities are forced to deal with instead of our diplomats.”
The proceedings in this case lasted 17 months, 8 court sessions were held, some of the accused, due to fear of detention (due to overdue documents), did not appear at the court session.
It should be noted that lawyer Mustafa Yaman did not find any complaints or statements officially signed by the consulate in the case file. There is only a protocol drawn up by the police at the scene of the incident.
It should be recalled that the Turkmen authorities have adopted the practice of unfoundedly accusing opponents of the regime of various violations of the law, thereby misleading the public and law enforcement agencies of foreign states.
Turkmen Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights