Turkish Court Convicts Police Officer For Nigerian's Manslaughter
December 13, 2011
A court in Instanbul has sentenced a Turkish police officer, Cengiz Yildiz to four years and two months prison term for being guilty of the involuntary manslaughter of a Nigerian asylum seeker, Festus Okey, in police custody more than four years ago.According to Reuters
Festus Okey was detained in August 2007 on charges of drug possession and died from a gunshot wound at the central Beyoglu station. The shot was fired from Cengiz Yildiz’ gun but the officer has since claimed it was an accident.
Human rights groups condemned the bureaucratic obstacles that held up the trial into the death of Festus Okey, who was shot after being detained at an Istanbul police station in August 2007.
The officer would have faced a life sentence if found guilty of murdering Okey.
Stenciled portraits in memory of the slain Nigerian are still spray-painted on some streets and alleys of Istanbul.
The absence of security controlled camera footage as well as the inability of the police to produce the shirt the Nigerian wore at the time of his death further complicated the case.
Okey was not represented by a lawyer in the case due to a dispute over his identity.
In a recent report, The European Union criticized the persistent lack of thorough investigations into alleged extra-judicial killings by law enforcement officers.
It pointed to slow progress in the Okey case and criticised the absence of an independent police complaints mechanism.
"Law enforcement officers found guilty of torture, ill-treatment or fatal shootings received short or suspended sentences," the report said.