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Three more Erdogan guards indicted over Erdogan melee

Aug 31, 2017, 01:23
Three more Erdogan guards indicted over Erdogan melee

Tuesday a grand jury indicted 19 people including 15 Turkish security officials.

All 19 have been charged with conspiracy to commit a crime of violence, which is punishable by a statutory maximum of 15 years in prison, and several face additional charges of assault with a deadly weapon.

ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian was videotaping live at the scene of the May 16 attack, which took place in front of the Turkish Ambassador's residence where President Erdogan was scheduled to have a closed-door meeting with think tank leaders.

Sixteen of the defendants were charged June 13, and a new indictment issued Tuesday added three new defendants - all Turkish security officials.

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Two of the defendants were arrested in June following the incident, but the rest of the defendants are now at large.

Newsham called on the suspects to turn themselves in, but Erdogan's team had already returned to Turkey and it remains unclear if they will return to the U.S.to answer the charges. Nine people were injured in the melee.

All 19 are charged with conspiracy to commit a crime of violence with an enhancement for a bias crime, though many face additional charges including assault with a unsafe weapon and assault with significant bodily injury.

On the day of the violence, police detained two members of Erdogan's security detail but released them shortly afterward. Many were indicted on additional charges.

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The indictments charge the defendants with attacking peaceful demonstrators who had gathered on May 16 outside the home of the Turkish ambassador, awaiting Erdogan's arrival after he had met with President Donald Trump at the White House.

Video from the incident shows Erdogan supporters and his guards attacking Kurdish and Armenian protesters. Of the 17 men at large, two are Canadian citizens and the rest are Turkish nationals.

"The members and associates of the conspiracy used threats and physical violence - intensely kicking at protesters - to dispel the anti-Erdogan protesters, attack the anti-Erdogan protests and blatantly ignore American law enforcement commands to cease the violence", the 20-page indictment states. Now is the time to demand the immediate extradition of President Erdogan's security detail, and for the Republic of Turkey to pay reparations to the victims of these heinous crimes.

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