19 charged for attack on protesters outside DC Turkish embassy
- Author: Megan Austin Aug 31, 2017,
Aug 31, 2017, 1:23
A federal grand jury has indicted 19 Turkish security officials and supporters of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan for their roles in attacking peaceful protesters outside of the Turkish ambassador's residence in Washington, D.C. on May 16.
All 19 are charged with conspiracy to commit a crime of violence, a felony punishable by a statutory maximum of 15 years in prison.
The protesters were outside the Turkish ambassador's Washington D.C. home during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit with President Trump when the bodyguards began savagely punching and kicking them in broad daylight.
While 16 of the defendants had already been slapped with charges in June, Tuesday's indictment by the US Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia added three Turkish security officials to the list.
Two were arrested in June and face court next week but 17 are at large and some have returned to Turkey with Mr Erdogan.
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The violence kicked off just after Erdogan arrived at the residence during his first visit to the USA following President Trump's election.
Nine people were injured in the skirmish. Numerous 19 were also indicted on additional charges including assault with a unsafe weapon and aggravated assault. The three new defendants are Turkish security officials. Erdogan was in the USA for a meeting with President Donald Trump at the time.
Yildirim and Sinan Narin, another Turkish-American protester, are the only two attackers who have been arrested. The charges all carry a "bias crime enhancement" which brings stiffer penalties because the attack was "based on the actual or perceived ethnicity and political affiliation" of the victims.
On the day of the violence, police detained two members of Erdogan's security detail but released them shortly afterward.
Video from the incident shows Erdogan supporters and his guards attacking Kurdish and Armenian protesters. Turkey said the US -backed Syrian Kurds are an arm of the PKK.The Turkish security officials left the country before they were charged. Turkey has said the security guards have diplomatic immunity. ".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".