20-year sentence to sub-lieutenant charged with 'murder by torture' in landmark trial

20-year sentence to sub-lieutenant charged with 'murder by torture' in landmark trial

DİYARBAKIR - Doğan News Agency
20-year sentence to sub-lieutenant charged with murder by torture in landmark trial

36-year-old Abdülkadir Kurt died after being taken in custody on suspicion of helping PKK militants in 1992.

An army sub-lieutenant has been sentenced by a Diyarbakır court to 20 years in prison for torturing to death a man taken into custody following a military operation against outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants in 1992.

Salih Üner, nicknamed "Rambo," had previously received a life sentence in 2010 for killing Abdulkadir Kurt, a Kurdish villager living near Diyarbakır's Bismil town as he was interrogated on suspicion of helping the militants escape following a military operation in 1992. The trial started in 1994 and other 14 officers were also charged of "murder by torture" or "complicity to murder."

The autopsy had established the cause of Kurt's death as "internal bleeding caused by rectal perforation" due to anal penetration by a truncheon. Only Kurt was sentenced to prison int the first court ruling, while the other officers were al acquitted. 

However the Turkish Constitutional Court revoked the sentence in 2012, deciding on a retrial.  As the trial faced the danger of running out of time due to the statute of limitations, prosecutors did not widen the investigation and reiterated the same legal opinion while Üner denied the claims and asked for his release. Üner was put in pretrial detention two months ago following a court order.