Turkey Becomes Brazil: Orders Victim To Pay For Costs Of Trial After Police Blinded Him
from the welcome-to-our-dystopian-future dept
If George Orwell’s “1984” has become a how-to manual for the modern surveillance state, Terry Gilliam’s dystopian satire “Brazil,” released in 1985, is surely the film of the book (one of the possible titles considered for the film was “1984 ?”). Amongst its many brilliant and disturbing moments, there’s the following dialog from an interview of Mr. Helpmann, the Deputy Minister of Information:
Interviewer: Nevertheless, Mr. Helpmann, there are those who maintain that the Ministry of Information has become too large and unwieldy…And the cost of it all, Deputy Minister? Seven percent of the gross national product.
Mr. Helpmann: I understand this concern on behalf of the tax payers. People want value for money. That’s why we always insist on the principle of Information Retrieval charges. It’s absolutely right and fair that those found guilty should pay for their periods of detention and for the Information Retrieval Procedures used in their interrogation.
The idea that people ought to reimburse the costs the state incurs in arresting, interrogating and convicting them is pretty chilling. It’s also just moved closer to reality in Turkey, as this story in Hürriyet Daily News reveals:
A Kyrgyz tourist who was wounded during the Gezi Park protests has been ordered to pay a total of 151 Turkish Liras to the Turkish state even though his injuries were caused by state police.
Shavkatbek Saipov, 30, filed a complaint against the police, claiming that he lost his eye after a gas canister hit his face, but the court rejected his claims and ordered him to pay 151 liras [about $50] as “the cost of trial.”
As the post explains, Saipov was caught up in the massive Gezi park protests that took place in 2013. Here’s what he says happened:
Saipov was walking in Ankara?s Güvenpark as a tourist on June 1, 2013, when police attacked protesters during the mass demonstrations that occurred around the country. Saipov said a gas canister used to disperse protesters hit his left eye after he became stuck in the middle of the police and the protesters.
Despite undergoing two surgeries, Saipov lost his left eye and filed a complaint against the police officers. He also demanded compensation worth 210,000 liras [$68,000], of which 10,000 [$3,250] was for material damages and 200,000 [$64,750] for damages for mental anguish, from the Interior Ministry.
The 151 liras fine may be relatively small, but it creates a troubling precedent for other courts in Turkey to follow — and for other countries to consider when they vow to provide “value for money.”