Prominent Kurdish lawyer and activist Tahir Elci speaking to media in October 2015.
Prominent Kurdish lawyer and activist Tahir Elci speaking to media in October 2015.Anadolu Agency

A video showing Kurdish human rights lawyer Tahir Elci, the head of Diyarbakir Bar Association, being shot dead during a press conference has emerged online.

Since his death on 26 November, allegations have been doing the rounds that Tahir Elci — known for his stance against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) — was killed at the political outfit's behest.

A video published online shows the police exchanging fire with unidentified gunmen while Elci and journalists try to take cover. The footage shows the police firing at two men who seem to be running towards the group.

Analysis of the video clip shows despite firing several shots at the unidentified killers of Elci, the police are unable to hit them even at close range. The gunmen then allegedly assassinate the Kurdish lawyer by shooting him in the head, and flee the spot. [Watch video]

Since the emergence of the video, Kurdish social media users have been alleging that the police and the AKP planned the prominent lawyer's assassination. Another analysis of the video claim that the purported gunmen, did not even have a gun on them when they came near Tahir Elci. [Watch slow-motion video]

Social media users also say Elci was on the hit-list of the AKP government since October, when he was detained by the police for "spreading propaganda for a terrorist organisation" after he said on a TV programme: "The PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) is an armed political movement that has political demands and a remarkable support behind it. The PKK is not a terrorist organisation".

Tahir Elci's brother Ahmet told local news source ANF the lawyer was killed by the state.

"After becoming a target of the state's prosecutors and the AKP government's ministers, he has been murdered by the state. The state has various tricks, all of which we are familiar with from the history of the Turkish Republic," he said.

"My brother was killed for demanding peace and being an opponent. My brother wasn't caught in gunfire, but was deliberately targeted and shot dead. One single thing is clear: My brother has been murdered by the state."

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