DHKP-C militant sentenced to 15 years in Belgium for killing head of leading Turkish holding Sabancı
BRUSSELSA Belgian court sentenced on Feb. 20 outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) militant Fehriye Erdal to 15 years in jail and deprived her of civil and political rights for 10 years in absentia for crimes committed in Turkey, including being an accomplice in the 1996 assassination of the former head of the industrial conglomerate Sabancı Holding.
The Bruges Court of Serious Crimes announced its verdict on Erdal in absentia on Feb. 20 for crimes she committed in Turkey, ultimately sentencing her to 15 years in prison and depriving her of civil and political rights for 10 years.
The judge also ordered Erdal’s “urgent arrest,” as the woman fled from house arrest in 2006.
Meanwhile, some DHKP-C supporters reacted to the decision, shouting pro-DHKP-C slogans outside the court, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
DHKP-C militants killed Sabancı; his secretary, Nilgün Hasefe; and ToyotaSA general manager Haluk Görgün at the headquarters of Sabancı Holding on Jan. 9, 1996, in one of the country’s most notorious assassinations.
Following the assassination, Erdal was captured in Belgium in 1999, but she was later released. Turkey is still seeking her extradition, but her precise whereabouts remain a mystery.
İsmail Akkol, one of the other accomplices in the assassination, was initially tried in Greece but later released. He was arrested in February 2016 in Turkey when he entered the country by illegal means after two decades on the run. He pleaded not guilty in September 2016, facing an aggravated life sentence on charges of “attempting to change the constitutional order by force of arms.”
A third DHKP-C militant, Mustafa Duyar, the only person convicted in the case, was killed in prison in 1999 while serving a life sentence.
In 2007, the court previously ordered Erdal to be tried over crimes she committed in Turkey but the order was later reversed. The trial process later resumed after an application from the Sabancı family.
On May 25, 2016, a Bruges court had ordered the trial of Erdal over the killing of three businesspeople, including Sabancı. Her lawyer, Paul Bekaert, meanwhile, had withdrawn from the case and did not give power of attorney to another lawyer, so Erdal was not defended in the case in the killing of Özdemir Sabancı.
In the first hearing of the case at the Bruges court on Dec. 5, 2016, the prosecutor had demanded an aggravated 30 years in prison for Erdal, as well as another 15 years of additional security measures.