Countdown is on for Sivas case

Countdown is on for Sivas case

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Countdown is on for Sivas case

Cafer Erçakçak, one of the missing suspects of the case lost his life in 2011. Hürriyet photo

With only one week remaining before an Ankara court decides if one of the 1993 Sivas massacre cases should be closed due to statute of limitations, debates have begun raging over whether the incident constituted a crime against humanity.

If the Ankara High Criminal Court does not rule to regard the subject of the case within the scope of “crime against humanity” and rules to close the file due to lapse of time, the deaths of 35 intellectuals in Sivas who perished in a fire set by an Islamist mob during an Alevi culture festival will go unpunished. “Overdue justice is no justice,” Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay said when asked about the matter by the Anatolia news agency.

“The judiciary should go to any lengths for such cases not to face the statute of limitations. We have seen in various cases that overdue justice is no justice,” Günay said.

Minister of Customs and Trade Hayati Yazıcı also said yesterday that he hoped the court would not decide for a statute of limitations and the criminals would be punished.

In the previous hearing prosecutor Hakan Yüksel demanded an end to the trial of five remaining suspects charged with involvement in the torching of the Madımak Hotel on grounds their offenses now fall beyond the 15 year statute of limitations. In the first stage of the Sivas case, 33 suspects were sentenced to death in 2000 for what the court deemed an attempt on the secular constitutional order. Their sentences were commuted to life imprisonment when Turkey abolished capital punishment.
Fourteen others were given jail terms of up to 15 years.