Court eases torture suspects' punishment for soldier's death

Court eases torture suspects' punishment for soldier's death

Court eases torture suspects punishment for soldiers death

Uğur Kantar. Hürriyet photo

A Turkish military high court overruled a previous decision on the death of soldier Uğur Kantar, who was allegedly tortured to death in an army disciplinary ward, dismissing civil court claims and sending the case back to the military courts.

The decision to try the suspects under the military court judiciary will alter the definition of the charges as well, replacing torture accusations with accusation of “causing the death of a member of the inferior rank through mistreatment.”

The case will be sent back to the initial military court, and if the decision prevails, the suspects will face up to 10 years in the case of conviction, a lesser punishment compared to the life sentence that comes with torture charges under civil courts, according to daily Radikal.

Kantar was serving in the 28th division in Turkish Cyprus and was set to be discharged on Aug. 1. Only two weeks prior to the end of his term of service, however, Kantar was sent to the military disciplinary ward where he was allegedly subjected to torture, handcuffed to a chair and left under the sun without any water.

He was also allegedly beaten by Privates Fırat Keser and Ayhan Aslan, who were guarding Kantar. The military prosecution recorded the testimonies of 37 people, and the two privates who allegedly tortured him were sent to military prison on charges of “malicious wounding.”