Suspect faces 15 years in jail for manslaughter of five men missing in Istanbul
ISTANBUL – Doğan News AgencyA lawsuit has been opened against the owner of a facility that rented a sea bicycle to a group of five men who went missing in Istanbul last year, with the prosecutor seeking up to 15 years in prison on charges of reckless homicide.
Şükrü Kahraman, 28, Mikayıl Çelik, 30, Yusuf Büyükizgi, 29, Serdar Demir, 25, and Doğan Demir, 21, were sailing on sea bicycles along the shores of Istanbul’s Kumburgaz neighborhood before they went missing on Aug. 17, 2014. The body of Serdar Demir was found on the shore off Balıkesir on Aug. 23, 2014, while the four other men remain missing.
The indictment prepared by the Bakırköy Public Prosecutor’s Office accused Sinan Önügöre, the owner of the Garden Beach Club, of renting a four-people-capacity sea bicycle to five people.
Önügöre should have ensured that the bicycles were not rented to more people than their capacity, the indictment said, adding that only four life jackets were given to the group of five people.
The suspect’s nephew, Burak Önügören, reportedly told his uncle that the group had not returned to the shore despite the rental deadline passing, but the owner did not notify the coast guards.
Önügören went to the police station only after the men’s families reported that they were missing.
Meanwhile, the prosecutor has dropped charges against four people, including a captain from the Istanbul Fast Ferries Co. Inc. (İDO), who allegedly failed to rescue the missing men, despite being warned by passengers that people were floating in the sea.