No evidence of promotion of violence by militant Islamist group’s leader, court rules
ISTANBUL – Doğan News AgencyA Turkish court has said there was no evidence of promotion of violence in its statement of acquittal for the leader of the Islamic Great East Raiders Front (İBDA/C) militant group, who was released in 2014 after his life imprisonment sentence was reversed.
Salih İzzet Erdiş, known by the alias “Salih Mirzabeyoğlu,” was arrested in 1999 and initially sentenced to death on charges of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order by use of arms.” His sentence was converted into aggravated life imprisonment after the death penalty was abolished in Turkey.
Erdiş was released on July 22, 2014, as a result of a retrial after serving 16 years in prison.
“There is no objective, concrete, certain, credible and sufficient evidence of him provoking the violent actions in the form of bombing, robbery, killing and injuring with the aim of changing the constitutional order,” the court ruled, adding there was also no evidence of him ordering such actions to İBDA/C members.
“Erdiş is a person against the system and an opponent who undoubtedly has views and thoughts that disturb a part of the state and society and who doesn’t adopt secular and democratic state order,” the court added.
Stating the messages he conveyed in his works and conferences were “undoubtedly” provocative, shocking, aggressive and disturbing for the aforementioned parts of the state and society, the court added that Erciş’s thoughts on the system didn’t surpass the intellectual level.
“There is no evidence that Erciş had organic connections to the organization’s front and cell formations or had guidance on the organization after the years the İBDA/C started to perform violent actions,” the court said.
Stating that the members of the group acted independently without a hierarchical order, the court ruled that Erciş couldn’t be held responsible for providing the ideological and political basis of the İBDA/C via the books he wrote.
Erdiş was one of the figures arrested following the events that unfolded after Feb. 28, 1997, widely known as the “post-modern coup.”
The İBDA/C claimed that it, together with al-Qaeda, was behind four bombings in Istanbul that killed at least 52 people in 2003, including the blasts at the British consulate and the Turkish headquarters of HSBC Bank.