19 suspects released pending trial in Reina nightclub attack case
An Istanbul court has ordered the release of 19 suspects pending trial and ruled for the continuation of arrest of 20 other suspects in a case on the New Year’s Eve Reina nightclub attack in 2017.
The Istanbul 27th Heavy Penalty Court said on Feb. 18 that it had made the decision based on the jail time that the 19 had already served, the majority of evidence that was collected, and that the suspects did not have the chance to “spoil the evidence.”
The court has ruled that the next hearing of the case would be held on May 16.
Meanwhile, the main suspect in the shooting attack that killed 39 people denied the charges against him in the court on Feb. 18.
Abdulkadir Masharipov, an Uzbek national, was captured on Jan. 17, 2017 by police who said he had acted on behalf of ISIL. The jihadist group claimed responsibility for the attack two days after it took place.
Masharipov was one of 58 defendants, mostly foreigners, on trial over the attack on Feb. 18.
The attacker opened fire with an automatic rifle, throwing stun grenades to allow himself to reload and shooting the wounded on the ground.
Masharipov repudiated his previous statements to police in which he admitted guilt, and disputed evidence against him, saying he was not the person photographed holding an assault rifle in the club.
He blamed the media for linking him to the attack, and said he hid after he saw the photos attached to his name because he did not have identification papers.
Masharipov faces 40 aggravated life sentences over charges including “attempting to abolish the constitutional order” and “intentionally killing 39 people.”