Two suspects were sentenced to prison yesterday for interrupting a public call to mobilize against the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. A court in western Turkey's İzmir, sentenced İlknur F. and Adil C. to two years and six months and seven months in prison, respectively, for assaulting muezzin, Mehmet Kuzgun as he recited the "sala" on the night of the coup attempt. Another defendant in the case was acquitted.
Kuzgun was a muezzin at a mosque in İzmir's Narlıdere district when he joined others all across the country to recite the sala, a call to prayer originally used to commemorate the death of a Muslim community member.
Imams and muezzins across the country recited sala that night to wake people unaware of the coup. It was accompanied by a call to the people to take to the streets to resist. Adil C., İlknur C. and Pınar D. are accused of beating Kuzgun and damaging the mosque.
Security camera footage shows the trio arguing with Kuzgun and shoving him. The footage also shows the suspects smashing a glass window of the mosque door. The coup attempt was largely staved off thanks to strong public resistance. However, some civilians helped the military officers in seizing power or at least quelling the resistance.
Dozens of imams and muezzins were reportedly assaulted by civilians on the night of the coup, while pro-coup troops also tried to silence the sala at some mosques. Kuzgun has pressed charges against the defendants and in a previous hearing told the court that he was savagely beaten. "I had bruises all over my body and I was bed-ridden for 15 days. It wasn't an ordinary beating. I had to be reassigned to another mosque and I was depressed. I have a disabled son and I was unable to take care of him because of this. They beat me for about half an hour. They hit me with stones," said Kuzgun, who was granted the title Gazi [veteran] by the state for resisting the coup attempt.