ERBIL (Kurdistan24) – A video this week emerged showing a Turkish armored military vehicle running over a senior woman and crushing the 85-year-old to death last year in the Lice district of the Kurdish province of Diyarbakir.
On June 14, 2017, Pakize Hazar was walking with the help of a stick to the local post office to get her old-age pension when a parked Turkish flag-draped vehicle started its engine and ran her over despite warnings by a passerby in the street closed to traffic.
Later, her family members had to gather squashed body parts themselves as police officers watched on.
Privately-owned Dogan news agency said lawyers representing Hazar’s family presented the CCTV video as evidence of her deliberate killing to judicial authorities investigating the matter.
An initial report by the gendarmerie found the victim at fault for the incident.
A forensic medical report from civilian authorities in Ankara, however, concluded that special sergeant S.K. (26) who was driving the vehicle was “one hundred percent” responsible for the death as the woman was in his field of view.
S.K. was briefly arrested after the killing of Hazar and let go following an interrogation.
Prosecutors in Lice demand a prison sentence of two to six years for negligent manslaughter for the perpetrator in an ongoing trial.
The Turkish government or army has not released any statements regarding what happened to Hazar.
Opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmakers condemned the killing and vowed to pursue justice for the victim’s family.
“The fact that such a grave incident happened on a street where there was no traffic is a clear indication of the outrageous behavior of [the army] member using the vehicle,” Diyarbakir Bar Association said in a press release last year.
“It should be noted that armored vehicles are now competing with police bullets in violations of the right to life,” it read.
An October 2017 report by the Human Rights Association, an NGO in Turkey, recorded that armored police or army vehicles have killed at least 23 civilians by running them over and six others by firing at them in the Kurdish region mid-2016.
Laws approved in 2016 by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan grant soldiers fighting Kurdish rebels immunity from prosecution until permission to do so by authorities even if in case of grave human rights violations.
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Editing by Karzan Sulaivany