Erdogan bodyguards indicted for beating pro-Kurdish protesters during his United States visit
Aug 31, 2017, 01:22
A grand jury in Washington has indicted three more Turkish security guards for attacking protesters in May during a visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the U.S. capital.
Tuesday's grand jury decision means that a total of 19 people - 15 identified as Turkish security officials - have now been charged over their roles in the violence on 17 May during Mr Erdogan's state visit to the US.
"Today's indictments are an important step toward securing justice for the vicious, ethnically motivated hate crimes committed against US citizens, carried out during President Erdogan's visit to the nation's capital in May", said ANCA Communications Director Elizabeth Chouldjian. "The Turkish-Americans responded in self-defense and one of them was seriously injured".
"All 19 defendants were indicted on a charge of conspiracy to commit a crime of violence, with a bias crime enhancement", it said.
Several face additional charges of assault with a deadly weapon.
The indictment charged the attackers of a group of protesters who had gathered peacefully in front of the Turkish ambassador's home following Erdogan's meeting with President Donald Trump, the Associated Press reports. The rest remain at large.
Sixteen of those indicted were Turkish "security guards" who attacked demonstrators, injuring several.
On the day of the violence, police detained two members of Erdogan's security detail but released them shortly afterward. That felony charge carries a maximum 15 year prison sentence.
"The attack, by "pro-Erdogan civilian supporters, Turkish security personnel, and staff members from the Turkish diplomatic delegation" was "based on the actual or perceived ethnicity and political affiliation" of the victims," the document reads.
Turkey has repeatedly told US officials that security outside the ambassador's home was negligent and didn't ensure the safety of Erdogan's entourage amid sympathizers of an outlawed Kurdish militant group, according to the statement.
Washington police struggled to protect the protesters, who did not appear to initiate the attacks, and ordered the Erdogan supporters to retreat. ".indictment. -.aug.29, .2017.pdf" target="_blank">indictment also recognized that the attackers "significantly outnumbered" the anti-Erdogan protesters and "blatantly ignored American law enforcement commands to cease the violence".
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