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Turkish bodyguards charged in bloody embassy beatdown

Turkish bodyguards charged in bloody embassy beatdown”

The protesters were outside the Washington DC home of the Turkish ambassador during President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit with President Trump when the bodyguards began openly and savagely punching and kicking them.

All 19 were charged with conspiracy to commit a crime of violence, a felony punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison.

Eleven people were hurt in what Washington's police chief described as a brutal attack on peaceful protesters outside the Turkish ambassador's residence during Erdogan's visit.

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According to an Associated Press report, 15 of the individuals facing formal charges are Turkish security officials, who were seen roughing up protesters in various videos posted after the skirmish. Two of the defendants were arrested in June and face an initial court hearing on September 7.

The violence kicked off just after Erdogan arrived at the residence during his first visit to the US following President Trump's election. "The Turkish-Americans responded in self-defence and one of them was seriously injured".

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. Of the 17 men at large, two are Canadian citizens and the rest are Turkish nationals. "Violence is never an appropriate response to free speech, and we support the rights of people everywhere to free expression and peaceful protest", the State Department said in a statement. Some are also facing assault charges, including simple assault, assault with a risky weapon, or both.

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The Turkish Embassy claimed the protesters, who were located across the street from the Embassy, were members of a terror group.

Videos show the Erdogan guards viciously beating and kicking protestors on the ground in the leafy "Embassy Row" section of downtown Washington.

Sinan Narin and Eyup Yildirim, two of those indicted who were not a part of the Turkish security detail, were arrested on June 14. The charges all carry a "bias crime enhancement" which brings stiffer penalties because the attack was "based on the actual or perceived ethnicity and political affiliation" of the victims. It adds that the attackers "blatantly ignored American law enforcement commands to cease the violence".

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