The trial over the killing of Diyarbakır Bar Association Chair Tahir Elçi continued at the Diyarbakır 10th Heavy Penal Court today (July 14).

The third hearing today was attended by the Elçi family and their lawyers, the Diyarbakır Bar as an intervening party, the chairs of bar associations and lawyers. Defendants and anonymous witnesses attended the hearing via the Audio and Visual Information System (SEGBİS).

The hearing was also followed by MPs, chairs of bar associations, representatives of civil society organizations and human rights defenders. The developments at the hearing were shared on social media by the "Tahir Elçi Davası" (Tahir Elçi Case) Twitter account.

The Bar Associations of Batman, Muş, Bitlis and Ağrı and Human Rights Agenda Association expressed their request for intervening in the trial. The court board rejected these requests for intervention.

Witnesses changed their statements

The statement of the anonymous witness I-61 was taken via the SEGBİS video conference system. While the witness said during the investigation that s/he saw Tahir Elçi's moment of killing, in her/his statement at court today, s/he said that s/he had not seen the moment.

Similarly, Mehmet Türk, who said during the investigation that he saw the moment of shooting of Tahir Elçi, changed his statement and said that he did not see it. Reminded of his contradictory statements by the Elçi family's lawyers, Mehmet Türk reiterated his statement at court.

Witness denied the identification

Ekrem Özgün, who is arrested on another charge, spoke at the hearing today and said that he did not give a statement or make any identification despite his statement and identification (during the investigation).

The statement of anonymous witness LOJMAN was also taken via the SEGBİS video conference system. LOJMAN said that h/he was inside the organization (Civil Defense Units - YPS) during the incident and during the incident, "he heard organization member Mahsum Gürkan saying that he did not have a cartridge holder and organization member Uğur Yakışır told her/him that there were sharpshooters at the scene of the incident."

'Prosecutor wants to lay the charge on organization'

Witness Deniz Ataş attended the hearing via the SEGBİS system and said that s/he wanted to make a statement before the court in Diyarbakır.

Ataş argued that the prosecutor of another investigation file, as part of which s/he is arrested, was requested to lay the charge of killing Tahir Elçi on organization members and that s/he was plotted against.

Witness Recep Özbek said that what he knows about the incident is limited to hearsay.

'Missing footage must be found'

The lawyers of the Elçi family said that the investigation was poorly conducted, the on-site examination was not soundly carried out, the witnesses who were at the scene of the incident, but were not heard should be heard, an examination should be carried out to eliminate the contradictions in the file, the witnesses who had been heard and not heard should be heard again at the scene of the incident and during the examination and the missing camera footage featuring the moment of incident must be definitely found and presented to the file. The lawyers said that there is an attempt to cover up the issue during the trial.

Defendant police officer made a statement for a decision to be given about an extension of the inquiry after the deficiencies are rectified.

Afterwards, the prosecutor's office also pronounced its opinion and demanded that some press members and police officers who were at the scene of the incident be heard as witnesses in the trial.

Interim ruling by the court

Handing down its interim judgement, the court board has ruled that a writ shall be written to the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) to make an examination on the deleted camera footage, that the digital records requested by the intervening attorneys shall be examined abroad and that the list of all police officers who were on duty at the moment of the incident shall be requested.

The court has rejected the request for summoning the phpne records of some police officers on duty while ruling for summoning the report prepared by the Interior Ministry Civil Inspection Board. The court board will examine the request for an on-site examination at a later dat.

The next hearing will be held on January 12, 2022.