The jail sentence of a militant from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Ahmet Güneş, has been reduced due to “good conduct” in the southeastern province of Gaziantep, despite the fact his trial was conducted in absentia, Doğan News Agency reported on July 11.
Güneş, who was seen shooting a Syrian man in video footage recorded in Syria’s Latakia, was released after being arrested and sentenced after his release, while also receiving a reduction of his sentence. However, Güneş didn’t participate in the three hearings of his murder trial, as the police were unable to apprehend him.
Police officers who were doing routine checks on a road in Gaziantep on March 25, 2014, noticed unidentified objects being thrown out of a car driven by Mustafa Delibaşlar and stopped it. A hard disk, a flash drive, a memory card and a black balaclava was seized by the police in the search carried out on the side of the road.
During the search the driver attempted to tear up a piece of paper which had three different mail addresses and passwords printed on it in order to avoid its seizure by the police. The police seized the piece of paper and detained Delibaşlar, Ökkeş Durmaz and Güneş, who were also in the car. Documents related to ISIL were seized in searches conducted in the suspects’ houses.
The hard disk contained the footage of the execution of an alleged member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party
(PKK) in Latakia by a group of ISIL militants lead by Yunus Durmaz, who blew himself up during a police operation in Turkey on May 19. Güneş explains why the group executed the Syrian man in Arabic and Durmaz is seen ordering militants to shoot in the footage.
Güneş received weapons and explosives training at ISIL camps in Syria, more footage obtained from the hard disk revealed, according to the police. Several documents belonging to the gendarmerie were also found in the memory card obtained from the suspects.
Güneş and Durmaz told the police that they were employed as construction workers in the Ceylanpınar district of the southeastern Şanlıurfa province and didn’t know Delibaşlar before asking him to take them to Gaziantep after seeing that he had a car. Güneş didn’t answer the questions that the police asked regarding ISIL and the three suspects were arrested two days after being caught.
A complaint was filed against the suspects on April 22, 2014, over being members of an armed terrorist organization.
Güneş told the court that he was involved in the killing of the Syrian man due to “concerns over his own life” and that he had no connections to any illegal group in the first hearing of the case. The other suspects also denied the allegations and asked for their release.
On May 27, 2014, another complaint was filed against Güneş for intentional murder and the suspects were released on condition of trial without arrest on Oct. 30, 2014.
Meanwhile, an indictment was prepared upon the intentional murder complaint on March 6, 2015, with the prosecutor seeking a lifetime jail sentence for Güneş. The murder trial started, but Güneş didn’t participate in the hearings as he was not in custody.
At the same time, the case regarding the three missing suspects was ongoing, as the court on Sept. 22, 2015, ruled for the release of Delibaşlar and Durmaz for insufficient evidence for being ISIL members. A ban of traveling abroad was also lifted for the two suspects.
Delibaşlar was known to be among the suspects of the deadly Ankara
bombing on Oct. 10, 2015, and Durmaz was reportedly an ISIL militant active in Turkey and Syria. The two were fighting alongside ISIL in Syria, according to Doğan News Agency.
The court stated that Güneş received training at ISIL camps, killed a person and committed crimes by becoming a part of the terrorist organization and he was sentenced to seven years and six months of prison. However, the court reduced his sentence to six years and three months due to the suspect’s “good conduct” during the hearing process, even though he didn’t participate.
Meanwhile, Güneş was tracked by the police during an ISIL investigation in Turkey. He was determined to be involved in ISIL activities and his photos were taken to be put in the investigation file.
The case that was opened against the suspects in the aforementioned investigation was ongoing.
Güneş’s cousin, İsmail Güneş, staged an attack on the Gaziantep provincial police headquarters with a bomb-laden car and caused the deaths of three police officers, while wounding many others, on May 1.