World Bulletin / News Desk
A reporter for the Akit daily was verbally abused and beaten during an extraordinary meeting of the İstanbul Bar Association's General Assembly, which convened on Sunday to discuss an investigation recently launched against nine members of the association.
Nine members from the association, including İstanbul Bar Association President Ümit Kocasakal, had earlier on April 6, 2012, entered a hearing of the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) case and read a statement from the space in the courtroom designated for defense lawyers. Sledgehammer is a suspected coup plot believed to have been devised in 2003 with the aim of unseating the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government through violent acts.
In the statement, members of the bar association protested the fact that the defense lawyers in the Balyoz case had been prohibited from attending the hearings by the court. Those nine members of the association are now being investigated on charges of attempting to influence the trial.
The General Assembly of the İstanbul Bar Association held an extraordinary meeting to discuss the recent development on Sunday. During the meeting, Akit's Özmen, reporting on the event, stepped up onto the stage in an attempt to photograph the room when he has accosted by security guards, leading to a scuffle between Özmen and the guards. Özmen was reportedly verbally and physically attacked by guards. The participants in the meeting, including lawyers and officials, rose their voices and shouted in unison “get out” and “beat him, beat him!” Özmen attempted to exit the meeting and fainted upon leaving. He was taken to the hospital.
Speaking to Cihan, Koray Taşdemir, another Akit reporter who attended the event, said the attendees of the meeting swore at Özmen and attempted to lynch him. “When they learned he was a reporter from the Akit daily, they became even more aggressive against my friend,” Taşdemir claimed.
In the opening speech of the meeting, association President Kocasakal criticized harshly the investigation opened against him and eight other members of the association and stated they will hold the court accountable for the investigation.Last Mod: 17 Mart 2013, 18:08