Prosecutors have completed the indictment regarding assaults on Kurdish agricultural workers in Sakarya last year, but the indictment does not include any hate crime charges. Lawyer Kemal Erdem said there was an attempt to cover up the racist aspect of the case.
According to Ahmet Kanbal’s report for the Mesopotamia Agency, the prosecutor who completed the investigation of the 4 September assaults on seasonal agricultural workers prepared the indictment, which was accepted by the Kocaali Criminal Court of First Instance. The first hearing will be conducted in the coming days.
The indictment argued that Hasan Cebecioğlu, Hüseyin Cebecioğlu and Kenan Cebecioğlu should be sentenced for deliberate injury, threats and insults, and also that Kadir Cebecioğlu be sentenced on the charge of deliberately injuring.
The attackers might be sentenced to six years in prison with a punitive fine on the charge of threats, three months to two years in prison and a punitive fine on the charge of insults, and four months to one year in prison on the charge of deliberate injury. The indictment also included the threats and insults spoken by the assailants against the workers: “I will burn you, here is my country, did you think that here is Mardin? I will kill him/her, I will burn.”
The Prosecutor’s Office noted that there was sufficient suspicion that the suspects committed the crimes. A conciliator was appointed on the grounds of the crime being subject to conciliation, but a reconciliation could not be reached.
Racism aspect covered up
Lawyer Kemal Erdem, defending the workers on behalf of the Mardin Bar Association, said the assault was a racist one from the very beginning. He said the Prosecutor’s Office was avoiding a full investigation into the hate crimes despite all evidence. According to Erdem, the words of the assailants fulfilled the definition of a hate crime and therefore the current indictment was deficient. Arguing that the racist aspect of the case was being covered up, Erdem said the seasonal agricultural workers were subjected to similar antagonism wherever they went.
Seasonal agricultural workers from Mardin in eastern Turkey went to Sakarya on 4 September 2020 and were assaulted and threatened. The workers and their families feared for their lives and and returned to Mardin.