Court hands down aggravated life sentence over killing of businessman Özdemir Sabancı
ISTANBULAn Istanbul court on May 17 sentenced İsmail Akkol, one of the prime suspects in the 1996 assassination of Sabancı Holding board member Özdemir Sabancı, to an aggravated life sentence in one of the country’s most notorious assassinations, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
A member of the outlawed Revolutionary Peoples’ Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), İsmail Akkol was arrested on Feb. 4, 2016 after two decades on the run since allegedly he took part in the assassination of leading Turkish industrialist Sabancı, his secretary, Nilgün Hasefe, and ToyotaSA General Manager Haluk Görgün at the headquarters of Sabancı Holding on Jan. 9, 1996. Other defendants in the case included two other DHKP-C militants Fehriye Erdal and Mustafa Duyar.
During the hearing, Akkol’s lawyer Özgür Yılmaz said his client was unfairly tried and demanded his acquittal at least for good conduct.
The Istanbul 18th high criminal court board unanimously gave Akkol an aggravated life sentence on charges of “attempting to change the constitutional order by force of arms,” in a ruling that came after 21 years.
The court also ruled for the separation of Erdal’s case file, the agency said.
In February, a Belgian court sentenced Erdal to 15 years in jail and deprived her of civil and political rights for 10 years in absentia for crimes committed in Turkey, including being an accomplice in the assassination.
Following the assassination, Erdal was captured in Belgium in 1999, but she was later released. Turkey is still seeking her extradition, but her precise whereabouts remain a mystery.
Duyar, the first person convicted in the case, was killed in prison in 1999 while serving a life
The indictment prepared in 1997 included the names of 11 defendants in the assassination attempt, including alleged senior DHKP-C convict Ercan Kartal along with Duyar, Erdal and Akkol. They had initially faced capital punishment but it had been reversed to aggravated life sentences due to an amendment in the constitution. The other suspects, Fatma Erdem, Metin Narin, Ejder Güngör, Mehmet Gökmen, Ferhan Taş, Melek Akkaya and Nazlı Güngör, had faced jails terms from three to 7.5 years on charges of “aiding an armed illegal organization.”