Turkey probes 'sleeping judge' pictures on social media

ISTANBUL (AFP) - Turkish authorities launched an investigation on Wednesday into allegations that a judge and a prosecutor nodded off during a high-profile trial in Ankara this week.

The country's top judicial regulatory body ordered the probe after pictures widely circulated on social media showed the two apparently asleep in the trial of a policeman accused of killing a protester during the mass street demonstrations in June.

The Higher Board of Judges and Prosecutors has requested video recordings of Monday's hearing in the main Ankara court to decide whether further action is needed, local media reports said.

The incident was widely mocked on Twitter, with hundreds of users sharing a picture of graffiti that read "Police shot, judge slept, don't be silent".

The defendant is accused of shooting 26-year-old Ethem Sarisuluk in Ankara in the first days of the street protests that erupted in June against the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

At Monday's hearing - where the accused policeman appeared in disguise and via videolink - the court withdrew from the case and referred it to a higher tribunal because of concerns voiced by the victim's family about the tribunal's impartiality.

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