ISTANBUL — A Turkish police officer has been sentenced to nearly 17 years in prison for the murder of a teenager who was hit in the head with a tear-gas canister in 2013.
Police officer Fatih Dalgali was on trial for causing the death of Berkin Elvan, a 14-year-old injured in the head by a high-velocity gas canister in Istanbul in 2013 as the “Gezi Park” anti-government protests were taking place nearby. Dalgali rejects the accusations.
Elvan was in a coma for 269 days. His death in March 2014 at age 15 led to a flare-up in protests. Elvan’s family said he was out buying bread, not protesting.
But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was then prime minister, claimed Elvan was among the “terrorists” at the protests with his face concealed and argued police had no way of knowing his age.
A court in Istanbul convicted Dalgali of “possible intent of murder,” sentencing him to 16 years and 8 months in prison, and barred him from leaving the country, according to official Anadolu news agency. The court did not seek his immediate arrest. His conviction may be approved or overturned by a higher court.