Belgium seeks 30 years in prison for DHKP-C member over crimes committed in Turkey

Belgium seeks 30 years in prison for DHKP-C member over crimes committed in Turkey

Belgium seeks 30 years in prison for DHKP-C member over crimes committed in Turkey A Belgian prosecutor on Dec. 5 sought a 30-year jail term in absentia for an outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) member being tried for crimes committed in Turkey and for being an accomplice in the 1996 assassination of the former head of Sabancı Holding, one of Turkey’s top family-owned industrial conglomerates. 

In the first hearing of the case at the Bruges court, the prosecutor demanded an aggravated 30 years in prison for Fehriye Erdal, as well as another 15 years of additional security measures, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported. 

Erdal’s lawyer, Paul Bekaert, had withdrawn from the case and did not give power of attorney to another lawyer, so Erdal was not defended in the case into the killing of Özdemir Sabancı.

The court adjourned the hearing until Jan. 2, 2017, when it will announce its verdict.

If the court sentences Erdal, Interpol will begin to search for her with a red notice. Erdal is not being tried on charges of “being a member of terror organization,” since amended terror laws in Belgium came into force after the date of crime she committed.

On May 25, 2016 a Bruges court had ordered the trial of Erdal over the killing of three businesspeople, including Sabancı. DHKP-C militants killed Sabancı, his secretary Nilgün Hasefe, and ToyotaSA general manager Haluk Görgün at the headquarters of Sabancı Holding on Jan. 9, 1996, which remains one of the country’s most notorious assassinations.

Following the assassination, one of the accomplices Erdal was captured in Belgium in 1999 but she was later released. Turkey is still seeking her extradition as her precise whereabouts remain a mystery.

İsmail Akkol, one of the other accomplices in the assassination, was initially tried in Greece but was later released. He was arrested in February in Turkey when he entered the country by illegal means after two decades on the run. He pleaded not guilty in September, facing an aggravated life sentence on charges of “attempting to change the constitutional order by force of arms.”

A third DHKP-C militant, Mustafa Duyar, the only person convicted in the case, was killed in prison in 1999 while serving a life sentence.

In 2007, the court previously ordered Erdal to be tried over crimes she committed in Turkey but the order was later reversed. The trial process later resumed after an application from the Sabancı family.