Turkish military issues arrest warrant for convicted retired general in mine blast case
Mesut Hasan Benli – ANKARAAn arrest warrant has been issued for retired Brigadier General Zeki Es, who has yet to surrender despite receiving a jail sentence of six years eight months for his alleged role in a mine blast in Turkey’s eastern province of Hakkari that killed seven soldiers in 2009. The sentence was approved by the Military Supreme Court of Appeals 12 months ago.
The Turkish General Staff Military Prosecutor’s Office has now issued an arrest warrant for Es, who should have already surrendered to serve his jail sentence for “causing the death of more than one person and the injury of two people through negligence,” after his imprisonment was approved by the Military Supreme Court of Appeals in July 2014.
Yurdakan Yıldız, Es’s attorney, claimed not to know of his client’s whereabouts.
On May 28, 2009, seven soldiers were killed as a result of a mine blast laid on a road in Hakkari’s Çukurca district. A number of Es’ phone conversations found in the official records of the General Staff Electronic Systems Command (GES) were made public, in which Es confessed to a major general that he was the one who had laid the mines. A lawsuit was then filed in a military court against a number of suspects, and Es was arrested for a short period of time before being released pending trial.
A military court handed down the six years eight months verdict to Es on April 19, 2014, which was later approved by the Military Supreme Court of Appeals in July 2014. He was found not guilty of “arranging and submitting a report contrary to the truth.”
The major general to whom Es confessed, who was one of the lead suspects in the case, was released after being found not guilty of “taking on legal proceedings for an offense committed by one’s subordinates.”