The Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor’s Office has drafted an indictment on the November 2015 killing of Kurdish human rights lawyer Tahir Elçi, charging three police officers with negligence leading to Elçi‘s death and an alleged member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) with his murder, the Diken news website reported on Thursday.
The prosecutor sought prison sentences of up to nine years for the police officers while demanding three aggravated life sentences for the alleged PKK member for killing two other police officers, attempting to kill another one and the murder of Elçi.
The indictment said the incident took place after two police officers halted a vehicle in which there were two alleged PKK members, Mahsum Gürkan and Uğur Yakışır; that the two killed the officers and started running towards the street where Elçi was holding a press conference; and that the indicted police officers got involved at that point.
The prosecutor concluded that the police officers under indictment did not seek that outcome and that they only tried to “neutralize” the alleged PKK members at the scene without causing any collateral damage.
The 40-page indictment includes the testimony of several informants. In one of them, Ekrem Özgün claimed that he saw Gürkan kill Elçi with one shot.
The indictment also claimed that it was unclear which weapon fired the bullet that caused Elçi’s death.
In February 2019, the London-based Forensic Architecture found that Elçi was killed by a police bullet.
Elçi was shot dead while giving a press statement near a historic mosque in Diyarbakır, on Nov. 28, 2015. The indictment came five years after the incident.
Elçi had briefly been detained a month earlier on charges of disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization. He had been receiving death threats after saying on a TV program that he did not view the PKK as a terrorist organization.