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Police still can't recall who shot 14-year-old with tear gas canister.

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- Police officers testifying in an investigation into the shooting of 14-year-old Berkin Elvan with a tear gas canister during last summer's Gezi Park protests couldn't remember where they were or what they were doing on the day of the incident, the Radikal daily reported on Monday.

According to Radikal, each of the seven police officers that testified on Feb. 6 claimed either to have not used a riot gun on the day of the incident or to not know who used the riot gun that injured Berkin.

The statements resembled those of another group of seven police officers who gave testimony on the incident in January.

The daily also reported that one of the officers said he didn't remember the dates or locations of his postings during the Gezi protests.

Berkin was on his way to buy bread on the evening of June 16 when he was hit at close range with a tear gas canister fired by riot police in ystanbul's Okmeydany neighborhood, Human Rights Watch reported in June. Berkin has been in intensive care unit at ystanbul's Okmeydany Hospital for over 268 days. In a Sunday press release, Elvan family's lawyer said that Berkin weights 16 kilograms and his body's resistance and brain functions are significantly compromised.

Radikal reported that the police officer ysmail Aydyn has claimed that his team fired no tear gas canisters that day, adding that he did not know who used the riot gun.

Police officers Cengizhan KocabaE-, Uluhan Ulu and Deniz UlutaE- said that they hadn't used riot guns that day because they are not certified to do so. They also said that, due to the long duration of the protest movement, they were unable to remember the dates and locations of their postings.

Another police officer, Deniz Arslan, said that though he was licensed to use riot guns, he was not working on the day Berkin was injured. He learned about the incident from media outlets, he said. Police officer Ali KeleE-, who also has a license for riot guns, testified that he did not fire one on June 16 and that other officers also licensed to use the rifle were on duty at Okmeydany that day.

"I do not remember who used it [the riot gun]. I didn't use it. If the riot police records are checked, we can see who the rifle was registered to that day, and who used it," KeleE- added.

Sefa Doyranly, head of the riot-control team posted to the area of the incident, said he was in Okmeydany on the day the incident took place, but stressed that he didn't fire the riot gun. "I don't remember who on our team was given a riot gun," he added.

The daily also reported that the seven police officers who testified on Jan. 30 also claimed to not remember what happened on the day of the incident, or said they weren't there.

Meanwhile, the HE-rriyet daily reported that President Abdullah GE-l called Berkin's father Sami Elvan on Monday and wished the teenager a speedy recovery. GE-l also asked Sami Elvan about the 14-year-old's current condition.

"I feel deeply sorry about what happened. I share your pain. I am closely following Berkin's situation. Let me know if you need anything," GE-l said.

According to HE-rriyet, Berkin's father asked GE-l to stop police from using force against people gathering in front of the hospital. GE-l said he would call ystanbul Governor HE-seyin Avni Mutlu and ask him to handle the issue more sensitively.

Earlier in January, riot police detained 10 protesters who had gathered on ystanbul's ystiklal Street to demand justice for Berkin. A group of 50 protesters had gathered on ystiklal Street to stage a march in support of the injured teenager.

(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Mar 10, 2014
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