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Alevi chief detained in Istanbul

British Alevi Federation leader İsrafil Erbil at Stansted Airport, on his return from Istanbul where he was briefly detained

Alevi leader İsrafil Erbil held for questioning on return from Berkin Elvan trial

İsrafil Erbil, the head of Britain’s Alevi community, was briefly detained by police at a Turkish airport on his return to London from monitoring a murder trial in Istanbul.

He said he was asked by the authorities whether he would be reporting developments in the court case concerning Gezi Park protest victim Berkin Elvan, to the outside world.

Mr Erbil was returning to Britain last Friday, 6 April, from Sabiha Gökçen Airport. Earlier in the day he had made a formal request for the British Alevi Federation – which he leads – to join Berkin’s court case as a plaintiff.

The court rejected the request.

“We also submitted a letter from the British parliament’s Alevi group declaring it would be following judicial process and conviction,” Mr Erbil wrote in a Facebook post after his return to London.

“My detention clearly occurred because pro-Erdoğan factions could not digest this.”

He added: “We will continue to follow Berkin’s case until the very end, until all oppressors knell in front of the oppressed.”

Berkin Elvan was a 15-year-old Turkish boy who was hit on the head by a tear-gas canister fired by a police officer in Istanbul during the 2013 Gezi Park protests.

He died on 11 March 2014, following a 269-day coma.

A police officer, identified only by the initials F.D., denied his murder at a trial that began last week after an investigation that last nearly three years.

The prosecutor’s office has sought a life sentence for the suspect officer, who said he did not remember whether or not he fired a gas canister during the incident.

The trial has now been adjourned to 6 July.