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Top court finds no rights violation for 4 convicted on Gezi Park-related charges

In this file photo, Turkish riot policemen clash on May 28, 2013 with demonstrators protesting against the demolition of Taksim Gezi Park in Istanbul. BULENT KILIC / AFP

Turkey’s Constitutional Court has found no violation of rights in the case of four individuals previously convicted on charges related to the Gezi Park protests of 2013, stating that their application was “inadmissible,” local media reported on Thursday.

Canol Bayatbalağ, Lütfiye Burcu Kara, Ali Hizmetçi and Mitat Kavak, who submitted an application to the top court on March 20, 2017, argued that their convictions violated their right to hold meetings and demonstrations.

On October 21, 2016 the İzmir 2nd High Criminal Court sentenced the four to 25 months in prison for violating Law No. 2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations by attending the 2013 protests.

The court then deferred the announcement of the verdict, meaning the conviction would not appear on their records provided they didn’t commit a similar offense during their probation period of five years.

The Constitutional Court said in its decision published in the Official Gazette on Thursday that the verdict of the first degree court punishing the protestors was based on “relevant and sufficient reasons.”

The court unanimously decided that the protestors’ application was “inadmissible” because their arguments regarding the violation of their right to hold meetings and demonstrations were “clearly baseless.”

The Gezi Park demonstrations, which took place in the summer of 2013 in reaction to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s attempt to destroy one of the few green spaces left in İstanbul, quickly turned into a nationwide protest against the authoritarian policies of then-Prime Minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Eleven protestors died and thousands more were injured as they were brutally suppressed by the police on Erdoğan’s instructions.

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