A prosecutor responsible for preparing an indictment into a quarrel between an Alevi family and a Ramadan drummer in a town in the eastern province of Malatya in July has called for heavier penalties for the members of the Alevi family, on the grounds that they provoked tensions between Alevi and Sunni residents of the town.
The quarrel began when members of the Evli family spoke with Ramadan drummer Mustafa Evşi, who was touring their street in the town of Sürgü in Doğanşehir district, because they were disturbed by the noise he was making.
Each morning during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, an hour and a half before dawn, drummers tour the streets, hammering out a repetitive beat to wake people up for their suhur (pre-dawn meal), after which those who are fasting must stop eating and drinking
A group of Sunnis who witnessed the quarrel began throwing stones at the Evli family's house, allegedly chanting “God is great” and telling them to leave town. The family's barn was purportedly set on fire by the group. The gendarmerie had to implement intense security measures to protect the family.
The Malatya Governor's Office launched an extensive investigation into the incident, resulting in the police detaining 23 suspects on charges of throwing stones at the Alevi family's house. Evşi was among those detained. He was arrested and imprisoned, while the remaining suspects were released.
Doğanşehir Public Prosecutor Ahmet Aydın, who prepared an indictment in the incident, claimed that the Evli family had ignited tensions between Alevi and Sunni residents of the town by relying on the “scare power” of criminal organizations.
The prosecutor said Evşi was guilty of inciting others to commit a crime, causing damage to property, causing minor injuries to individuals and insulting others in response to the “unjust provocation” of the Alevi family.
For this reason, prosecutor Aydın asked for a reduction in Evşi's sentence. Evşi, who was facing sentencing from 1.5 years to 13.5 years, will now be eligible for anything between 4.5 months to 10 years imprisonment.
The prosecutor also filed a case against 48 people who gathered in front of the Evli family's house and allegedly threw stones for causing damage to property, causing minor injuries to individuals and insulting others. He said these people had committed these crimes due to provocation from the Alevi family.
The 48 individuals, who would under normal circumstances face prison sentences of up to 8.5 years, will now receive anything between 3 months to 6.5 years, as the crimes were committed as a result of provocation.
As for the members of the Evşi family, the prosecutor demanded a prison sentence from 3.5 years to 14 years for son Servet Evli on charges of striking Evşi, insulting and threatening him and threatening the crowd by relying on the “scare power” of criminal organizations.
In the indictment, the family's daughter Leyla also faces a prison sentence of 2.5 to 8.5 years on charges of threatening the crowd by relying on the “scare power” of criminal organizations.
The indictment has been severely criticized by the Evli family's lawyer, Ali Hamamcı.
“The prosecutor has pointed to the Evli family as being responsible for the incident. This is a very fatal judicial comedy,” he said.