Two shopkeepers were detained yesterday in southern Turkey after footage emerged on Tuesday showing the duo savagely beating two Syrian male adolescents who were later found to be cousins. The boys, who were seen stealing bread, were also detained on charges of theft before all of them were released pending trial.
The video, shot on April 1, was released online on Tuesday to the outrage of social media users. It shows two Syrian children, believed to be 15 or 16, opening a display case containing loaves of bread outside a closed grocery store at night. Two men suddenly emerge and start beating the boys with sticks. The two boys suffered multiple blows and tried to flee but the men continued punching and kicking them before forcing them to put the loaves back to the case. The two assailants were owners of the store and had ambushed the boys after they noticed bread in the case had gone missing for a few days. The video ends with onlookers rushing to the aid of the boys and the arrival of ambulances and the police. The two boys were treated for injuries at a nearby hospital and released the same day, media outlets reported. The perpetrators were detained on charges of causing intentional injury following the incident while the two boys also face charges of theft.
A court ruled for their release pending trial while the boys denied they were thieves. Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Muhammed Belve, one of adolescents seen in the video, said the assailants continued beating them though they pleaded that they would pay. Belve, who hails from Aleppo, said they took shelter in Turkey two years ago with their families and he was working as a junk collector to earn a living for his family. He was back from work with his cousin, Fadi Abdelghani, when they found out they did not have any bread at home. "We were hungry and looked for a place to buy bread. I did not have money and was planning to pay the next day. It would be haram [forbidden in Islam] if we didn't pay. When we couldn't find an open store, we saw bread in a display case and decided to take it and pay later. Suddenly, [the assailants] came and started beating us. They were shouting. One of them took my cellphone too. I told them repeatedly that I would pay for bread but they continued hitting [us]," he said.