- Two Turkish-American supporters of Turkey’s president were sentenced to prison
- They attacked peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C.
- Video footage shows a brutal melee against a small group of protesters outside of the Turkish ambassador’s residence
Two Turkish-American supporters of Turkey’s president were sentenced to prison on Thursday for their roles in attacking peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C., in 2017.
Eyup Yildirim and Sinan Narin were sentenced by a superior court judge to 12 months and one day in jail and three years of supervised release on charges of assault with significant bodily injury over the May 16, 2017, attacks.
Both received credit for time served in jail. They were arrested last June and pleaded guilty to charges in December.
Yildirim and Narin were caught on video taking part in a brutal melee against a small group of protesters outside of the Turkish ambassador’s residence at Washington’s Dupont Circle.
The onslaught occurred as a group of supporters of Turkey’s authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were arguing with about two dozen Kurdish, Armenian and Yazidi protesters stationed across the street from the ambassador’s residence.
Video footage shows the Erdogan supporters, including Yildirim and Narin, blitzed the protesters, punching and kicking many of them.
Some members of Erdogan’s security detail were spotted taking part in the assault. Yildirim, who owns a construction company in New Jersey, was spotting brutally kicking a female protester while she was curled up on the ground. Narin, a Virginia resident, was also seen assaulting the woman, identified as Lucy Usoyan.
Usoyan, a Yazidi human rights activist, told The Daily Caller in 2017 that she blacked out during the onslaught and suffered a head injury during the attack. (RELATED: Meet The Erdogan Goon Who Kicked A Female Protester At Turkish Embassy)
Yildirim also assaulted Seyid Reza Dersimi, a friend of Usoyan’s.
Yildirim and Narin were two of 19 people charged in the attacks. Two Canadian-Turkish men who showed up to the protests were also charged. Fifteen members of Erdogan’s security detail were also charged. The Justice Department quietly dropped charges in 11 of those cases in February. The move was made just before Secretary of State Rex Tillerson traveled to Turkey as part of a visit aimed at smoothing relations between Ankara and Washington, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Erdogan and Turkish government officials have complained about the charges filed in the case. They have faulted Washington, D.C., police and the U.S. Secret Service for protecting Erdogan against the protesters, who they’ve accused of being terrorists. (RELATED: Feds Quietly Dropped Charges Against 11 Erdogan Goons Who Attacked Protesters)
Aram Hamparian, the executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America, recorded some of the May 16 attacks. He criticized the “light sentences” handed down in Thursday’s hearing, which he attended.
“This decision should worry every American. Today’s light sentences – on top of the Administration dropping most charges and failing to seek any extraditions of Erdogan’s bodyguards – threatens to chill the free exercise of the First Amendment rights of Americans of Armenian or any other heritage to protest the actions of a foreign government,” Hamparian said in a statement.
Hamparian criticized Erdogan’s “open export of his regime’s violence” to the U.S. Erdogan has recently ramped up a crackdown on the press and civil servants in Turkey. Hundreds of journalists and thousands of Turkish citizens have been jailed on trumped-up allegations of terrorist links. Erdogan has used the failed July 15, 2016, coup attempt to justify many of the arrests.
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