The fourth hearing of the trial – relating to incidents in which Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy İbrahim Halil Yıldız’s bodyguards and relatives attacked the Şenyaşar family during the election campaign in Şanlıurfa (Riha) in Turkey on 14 June 2018 (which led to the deaths of four people) – took place at Malatya 3rd High Penal Court on 20 November.
Intense security measures were taken before the hearing. Mother Emine Şenyaşar, who lost her two sons during the incident, her son Ferit Şenyaşar (who is being tried without having been arrested) and some family members attended the hearing. Lawyers from the Lawyers For Freedom Association (ÖHD) and Şanlıurfa and Gaziantep (Dilok) Bar Associations also attended the hearing.
Press members, Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies Hişyar Özsoy, Nuran İmir and former deputy Behçet Yıldırım attended the courthouse. However, their attempt to attend the hearing was blocked by the decision of the court committee on the grounds of the pandemic and related precautions that had to be made.
Imprisoned Fadıl Şenyaşar – who had survived and escaped from the attacks, having been injured but who was later arrested – attended the hearing from Elazığ Closed Prison. Enver Yıldız attended the hearing using the Sound and Video Information System (SEGBIS).
The hearing began with the pleadings of the defendants and complainants. After the pleadings, the prosecutor provided his opinion and demanded that Fadıl Şenyaşar be sentenced to 150 years in prison on charges of “deliberate killing” and “attempted deliberate killing”. The prosecutor also demanded that Enver Yıldız be sentenced to 12 years in prison on the charge of “killing over severe provocation”. In addition, the prosecutor demanded that Ferit Şenyaşar, Kenan, Abdurrahman, Mustafa, Nihat and Süleyman, Ali, Mehmet and İbrahim Yıldız, İbrahim Halil and Mehmet Şimşek be sentenced on the charge of actual bodily harm.
The Şenyaşar family’s lawyers demanded additional time for their defence following the prosecutor’s opinion.
‘The opinion is partial’
Hidayet Emmek, the Şenyaşar family’s lawyer, defined the prosecutor’s opinion as “copy-paste” and said that the prosecutor prepared a subjective indictment. Metin Özbadem, a lawyer in the case, stated that the prosecutor’s opinion was worse than the actual indictment: “There is nothing so severe in the indictment” regarding the Şenyaşar family’s members, he noted, but this has been included in the prosecutor’s opinion.
The prosecutor has demanded that Enver Yıldız be sentenced to 12 years in prison over murder, with the verdict of him having committed this act under “severe provocation”. If the demand of the prosecutor is approved, Yıldız will be sentenced to a maximum of 12 years. However, the prosecutor assumes that the first irregular and criminal act was committed by the Şenyaşar family. However, the Şenyaşar family’s lawyer stated that it is obvious that the first criminal act was actually launched by the Yıldız family: “But the prosecutor has demanded that Fadıl Şenyaşar, who attempted to defend his brothers who were being attacked, be sentenced to at least life imprisonment on charges of delibrately seeking to kill eight persons. All of our demands for additional investigations were rejected. They are hurriedly trying to close the case”.
‘This case is not being carried out and conducted in a fair manner’
Emmek stated: “It was obvious that the file would be treated differently and the Yıldız family would be acquitted whilst the Şenyaşar family would be aggrieved. We were concerned about this. A fair trial process is not taking place, nor is it being permitted. This file is trying to effect a cover-up.That is unacceptable. Süleyman Yıldız, who ordered the second attack on the Şenyaşar family’s work place, even attended the hearing as a complainant. That is the most significant indication that this case is not being carried out and conducted in a fair manner. That person is not even being tried as a defendant”.
The court board ruled that Fadıl Şenyaşar and Enver Yıldız remain under arrest and rejected all the demands of the Şenyaşar family’s lawyers and postponed the next hearing to 25 December.