Kidnapped Turkish prosecutor dies in hospital

Turkish prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz, who had been held hostage by a two armed men, died of gunshot wounds in hospital, late on Tuesday.

In a six hour ordeal, during which his captors demanded the live confession by the police officers suspected of killing 15 year old Berkin Elvan at the time of the Gezi Park protests, the prosecution of the officers responsible in a “people’s court,” the acquittal of all people being tried for participation in solidarity rallies for Elvan, as well as other requests.

The two men who held the prosecutor captive were suspected members of an illegal far-left group, were killed by security forces.

“We carried out the negotiation for six hours. But our security forces launched the operation after gunshots were heard while terrorists were speaking on the phone during the negotiation,” Istanbul Police Chief Selami Altınok said after the operation.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan congratulated the security forces for the operation, while also noting that Kiraz was shot five times during the episode, with three bullets hitting his head. Erdoğan added that the perpetrators stormed the prosecutor’s office while “wearing lawyer’s robes.”

Earlier on in the day, a photo was released on social media showing someone pointing a gun at the head of Kiraz against the backdrop of a flag of the outlawed organisation, which was first shared on Twitter by @aysekosan123, suspected to be affiliated with the outlawed far-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP/C). The account was hacked soon after. “This account has been seized. Everything is for the TURKISH people,” the hackers wrote in a tweet.

Berkin Elvan’s father had demanded the release of the prosecutor and was quoted as saying:

“My son died, but another person should not die.”

Berkin Elvan, aged 15, was the youngest casualty of the Gezi Park protests in 2013 and died on 11th March 11, 2014, 269 days after he fell into a coma when he was struck on the head by a tear-gas canister during the Gezi protests.

Kiraz was appointed as the prosecutor of the controversial case six months ago.


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