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Police detain, assault members of music group, journalists in Turkey

(BIANET/IFEX) - On 14 September 2012, law enforcement officials detained 27 people who were waiting for the removal of Ibrahim Çuhadar's corpse from the Forensics Institute. Çuhadar, a member of the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), was killed during an attack on a police station in Istanbul's Sultangazi district a week earlier. The police officers assaulted and injured the detainees, including members of the left-wing music group Grup Yorum.

Grup Yoram vocalist Selma Altin is said to be facing the possibility of going deaf due to blows she received to her head, while violinist Ezgi Dilan Balci's fingers were broken. Other detainees suffered similar injuries.

Officials initially released five of the 27 detainees as they were minors under the age of 18. The remaining 22 suspects were brought to the prosecutor's office, and 17 of them were then transferred to court on 17 September. The court subsequently ruled to keep eight individuals in detention, while the other nine, including Altin and Balci, were placed under house arrest.

Personnel from the Istanbul Police Headquarters, however, said reports released by the press regarding the incident did not reflect what happened. They said the police were the victims in the incident, claiming that 12 officers were injured and that anyone could suffer a loss of hearing as did Altin.

An Istanbul high court decided to keep Bahar Kurt, the owner of Tavir magazine, and Musa Kurt, a reporter for Yürüyüs magazine, as well as Ilkay Isler, Cansu Öztürk, Sibel Kirlangiç, Feridun Osmanagaoglu, Osman Beyazkaya and Dogan Tastan in detention, on charges of "making terrorist propaganda" without being a member of a terrorist organisation.

The reasons cited for Musa Kurt's arrest also include "taking photographs of the police, participating in events called for by a terrorist organisation and having a previous record of arrest." Law enforcement officials had detained Musa Kurt on 14 December 2010 during a raid on the Yürüyüs magazine offices. He was released, following a court order, on 20 July 2012.

The court also decided to place Altin and Balci, as well as Önder Aydogdu, Murat Gün, Bahar Ertürk, Mesut Yavuz, Damla Sandal, Derya Seyhun and Erken Erdem, under house arrest on charges of "making terrorist propaganda" and banned them from travelling abroad in accordance with article 109 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CMK). Altin and Balci's lawyers objected to the court decision.

In an unexpected twist Judge Süleyman Karaçöl mistakenly wrote on the interrogation report that he had questioned the 17 suspects in relation to a charge of "drug trafficking".

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