Indictments Issued for Turkish Security After Attack on Peaceful Protesters in US
- Author: Ryan Wade Aug 31, 2017,
Aug 31, 2017, 1:25
A grand jury in Washington has indicted 19 people, including 15 Turkish security officials, in connection with a brawl that broke out during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to the US capital in May.
Nine people were hospitalised and two members of the Turkish leader's security detail initially arrested in the brutal altercation with Kurds, Yazidis and Armenians protesting Mr Erdogan's human rights record and Syria policy.
Sixteen were charged on June 13 and an indictment on Tuesday added three - all Turkish security officials. Two Turkish-American businessmen were arrested in June for their roles in the daylight attack on protestors and face an initial court hearing on September 7.
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Newsham called on the suspects to turn themselves in, but Erdogan's team had already returned to Turkey and it remains unclear if they will return to the U.S.to answer the charges. "The Turkish-Americans responded in self-defense and one of them was seriously injured".
"All 19 defendants were indicted on a charge of conspiracy to commit a crime of violence, with a bias crime enhancement", the District of Columbia Attorney's Office said in a statement, Reuters reports.
Two Turkish bodyguards were briefly detained after the incident. The rest remain at large.
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American officials strongly criticized Turkey's government and Erdogan's security forces for the violence; the State Department summoned Turkey's USA ambassador to complain.
In footage from the incident Turkish bodyguards can be seen suddenly rushing at the protesters. Numerous 19 were also indicted on additional charges including assault with a risky weapon and aggravated assault. That felony charge carries a maximum 15 year prison sentence.
Hamparian's video showed pro-Erdogan forces crossing a police line and beating peaceful protesters-elderly men and several women - who were on the ground bleeding during most of the attack. Now is the time to demand the immediate extradition of President Erdogan's security detail, and for the Republic of Turkey to pay reparations to the victims of these heinous crimes. Turkey's ambassador to the US was also summoned to the State Department to discuss the incident.
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Tuesday's indictment states that most of the demonstrators were supporters of Kurdish independence but repeatedly maintains that their protest was peaceful and permitted.