Court releases seven suspects in ISIL’s Istanbul nightclub attack hearing
An Istanbul court on Dec. 16 ordered the release of seven suspects in the hearing into the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attack at Istanbul’s Reina nightclub, which left 39 people dead and 79 wounded.
But it said seven could go free under judicial control. This means that they remain charged and will have to regularly report to the authorities.
A total of 57 suspects are on trial, with the remaining number freed under judicial control or on the run.
The trial opened on December 11 with the court hearing five days of testimony. The next hearings will begin on March 26.
Masharipov, who was present for the hearings, has refused to testify although the court heard from his wife who is also on trial and denied all knowledge of the plot.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), which at the time controlled swathes of neighboring Iraq and Syria, claimed the attack. It remains the only time it has issued an unequivocal claim for an attack in Turkey.
Masharipov, who used the ISIL codename Abu Mohammed Horasani, was just one of several nationals of the ex-Soviet state of Uzbekistan implicated in jihadist attacks this year.
Of the 39 killed in the Reina attack, 27 were foreigners including citizens from Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iraq and Morocco, who had gone to the club to celebrate New Year.
Masharipov, who was captured after 17 days on the run, faces 40 life sentences, one for each of the victims and the massacre itself.
After taking a taxi to the elite waterside nightclub, Masharipov shot dead the security guard before marching inside and firing indiscriminately with his AK-47 at the terrified revelers and setting off grenades.