Ferit Şenyaşar has been on a sit-in protest with his mother, Emine Şenyaşar, to demand justice for their family members, who were killed by the guards of a Justice and Development Party (AKP) MP during an election campaign.
Hacı Esvet Şenyaşar and two of his sons, Adil and Celal, lost their lives as a result of an armed attack by the bodyguards and relatives of the AKP’s Urfa deputy, İbrahim Halil Yıldız, in 2018.
Emine Şenyaşar, the wife of Hacı Esvet Şenyaşar and mother of Adil and Celal, and her son Ferit Şenyaşar have been struggling for justice ever since. As the controversial case goes on, the Şenyaşar family launched a sit-in vigil 20 days ago in front of Urfa (Riha) Courthouse in Turkey and have been continuing their vigil despite the oppression and the arbitrary bans imposed on them.
Risking detention and arrest for justice
Ferit Şenyaşar said that since the day of the massacre that destroyed their family they have been looking for justice. “Each morning when we leave the house for our protest we run the risk of possible attacks. These include being detained, arrested and even killed. These are the risks we face in our struggle for justice,” Ferit Şenyaşar said.
‘Who led your protest?’ police ask
Ferit Şenyaşar said that when he and his mother Emine Şenyaşar were detained on 25 March, the police asked them “Who led your protest here?”
“I wanted to answer by saying: Injustice led our protest here,” Ferit Şenyaşar said.
He pointed out that even though he continues the sit-in with his mother alone, their struggle is not theirs alone. “I am with my mother in front of the courthouse, but there are millions of people who support our struggle,” he said.
Next trial on 2 April
Ferit Şenyaşar called on the people and lawyers in Turkey to join the third trial of the Şenyaşar family’s killing, which will be seen on 2 April in Turkey’s eastern province of Matalya, in the 3rd Heavy Penalty Court. He also called for human rights defenders around the world to follow the case closely on that day.
“The prosecutor and the judges are under immense political pressure,” he said. “They will rule a decision. An unjust decision will mean a dark spot in Turkey’s history.”