Case on Festus Okey murdered at Istanbul police station reopened after 11 years

On Wednesday the case on the murder of Festus Okey in Beyoglu police station of Istanbul 11 years ago was reopened. Although the audience was not allowed to enter the courtroom several newspapers report about the trial.

Via Bianet
In Festus Okey case, which has been reopened after 11 years, the court ruled that necessary documents for visa procedures for Okey’s family shall be provided. DNA reports have also been requested to prove blood relations between the family members.

The case of Festus Okey from Nigeria, who was killed at Beyoğlu Police Department in İstanbul, has been reopened after 11 years.

In today’s (December 12) hearing, which has been held at İstanbul 21st Heavy Penal Court, it has been ruled that Tochukwu Gameliah Ogu, brother of Okey, shall be invited to the trial as an observer. Having applied to intervene in the case as well, Ogu shall await the result of the DNA test, which is required for his application for intervention to be granted.

Ömer Kavili, a lawyer for the family, told bianet that if the application for intervention is granted, they will have the opportunity to ask questions to and cross-examine the defendant.

“Because of the fact that Ogu’s application to intervene was dismissed before, we could only made our requests indirectly. If the application is granted this time, in addition to having the authority for cross-examination, we will also be able to make other requests.”

Okey’s mother is also willing to intervene

Defendant police officer Cengiz Yıldız, his lawyers and lawyers of the Okey family attended today’s hearing.

Alptekin Ocak, lawyer of Tochukwu Gameliah Ogu, said that his client’s blood relation with the victim should be identified, in accordance with the remittitur of the Supreme Court.

Ocak also stated that a laboratory with an international certificate is working on the DNA analysis and said, “My client wants to attend this trial in person, get a DNA test conducted and make statements.”

Ocak demanded an interim judgement to get visa procedures done. The lawyer said that Okey’s mother also wants to intervene in the case and demanded time to get a trust deed from her.

The court will ask for DNA analysis

The defending lawyer said that they do not accept the complainants’ statements and requests. He also stated that they do not accept a DNA test from a private laboratory.

In the interim judgement, the court ruled that Ogu should be provided with the necessary documents for visa procedures so that he could come to Turkey and watch the case.

The court also ruled that a letter of invitation shall be written to Ogu and DNA reports shall be demanded from Nigeria and South Africa.

The next hearing of the case will be held on April 2, 2019.

What happened?

Festus Okey, who had been living in İstanbul to be a football player, was shot dead by the police at Beyoğlu District Police Department on August 20, 2007.

A lawsuit was filed against Cengiz Yıldız, the officer who shot Festus Okey, at the Beyoğlu 4th Penal Court of First Instance.

According to a document in the case file, the police record regarding the incident was also written by Yıldız and his colleagues. The record was put in the file as evidence.

The Penal Court of Peace confiscated the gun that was used to shoot Okey. Yıldız requested his weapon to be returned. His request was granted. The officer was also not suspended from duty and continued to get full salary.

The shirt that Okey was wearing when the incident took place, which was an important evidence to determine the angle and distance of the gunshot, disappeared.

In the 16th hearing of the case, which was held on December 13, 2011, Cengiz Yıldız was sentenced to 4 years and 2 months in prison for causing death by negligence.

The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Supreme Court of Appeals expressed its opinion on January 17, 2013, suggesting the verdict of the lower court to be overruled and Yıldız to be charged with 20 years in prison.

Supreme Court of Appeals 1st Penal Chamber overruled the verdict on the ground that Tochukwu Gameliah Ogu’s biological relation to the victim should be investigated and his application to intervene in the case should be ruled on.

The file was moved to the Supreme Court General Penal Committee.

The Committee overruled the verdict which dismissed Ogu’s application to intervene in the case and the application should be ruled on after his credentials and the DNA report are obtained. In the committee’s verdict, it was stated that the court did not conduct a sufficient investigation.

İstanbul 21st Heavy Penal Court will give its judgement regarding the application to intervene, which it dismissed in the previous 15 hearings.

This article was originally published by Bianet English

Other reports on the case are via taz gazete (in Turkish): On bir yılda bir arpa boyu and  (in German): Was geschah mit Festus Okey?

Here is also a short documentary with english subtitles for those who may like to find out more on the Festus Okey case: