Erdogan's Bodyguards Indicted For Role In Attack On Peaceful Protesters

31 August, 2017, 01:24 | Author: Brian Mcdaniel
  • Turkey’s present state of emergency allows President Erdogan to rule by decree despite the fact that his role is largely ceremonial

The protesters were outside the Washington DC home of the Turkish ambassador during President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit with President Trump when the bodyguards began openly and savagely punching and kicking them.

The goons are accused of conspiring to attack Armenian and Kurdish demonstrators - which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison - as well as assaulting United States law enforcement who tried to intervene.

Witnesses to the scuffle outside the Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C., in May claimed that members of Erdogan's security detail attacked the demonstrators.

While 16 of the defendants had already been slapped with charges in June, Tuesday's indictment by the US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia added three Turkish security officials to the list.

Two of the defendants were arrested in June following the incident, but the rest of the defendants are now at large. They later were set free and returned to Turkey. Video footage later emerged showing that the Turkish president witnessed the violence, which injured at least nine people.

All 19 of the defendants have been charged with conspiracy to commit a crime of violence with a hate crime enhancement.

Sinan Narin and Eyup Yildirim, two of those indicted who were not a part of the Turkish security detail, were arrested on June 14. Numerous 19 were also indicted on additional charges including assault with a risky weapon and aggravated assault.

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Two people were arrested on site, and D.C. leaders pledged that the rest of those involved would be held responsible.

U.S. officials strongly condemned the attack at the time.

Turkey's official Anadolu news agency said at the time that Erdogan's security team moved in to disperse the protesters because "police did not heed to Turkish demands to intervene".

Turkey has repeatedly told US officials that security outside the ambassador's home was negligent and didn't ensure the safety of Erdogan's entourage amid sympathizers of an outlawed Kurdish militant group, according to the statement.

Fifteen of the defendants are bodyguards and Turkish police officers who work for Erdogan.

Washington police struggled to protect the protesters, who did not appear to initiate the attacks, and ordered the Erdogan supporters to retreat. "The members and associates of the conspiracy used threats and physical violence-intensely kicking at protesters-to dispel the anti-Erdoğan protesters, attack the anti-Erdoğan protesters, and blatantly ignore American law enforcement commands to cease the violence". The charges all carry a "bias crime enhancement" which brings stiffer penalties because the attack was "based on the actual or perceived ethnicity and political affiliation" of the victims.

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