Court postpones Soma mine disaster trial

Court postpones Soma mine disaster trial

Court postpones Soma mine disaster trial

A miner sits at by a grave as relatives and friends gather at the cemetery in the Turkish town of Soma in the Manisa district, western Turkey, on May 13, 2015 to mark the first anniversary of the Soma mine disaster in which 301 workers were killed after an explosion on May 13, 2014. AFP Photo

The trial into Turkey’s deadliest mining disaster was postponed by one day on June 15, with the court ruling that there is a conflict of interests between the suspects and they should be represented by different lawyers.

The trial into the death of 301 miners in a coal mine accident in the Aegean province of Soma continued on June 15 with 45 suspects, including eight suspects under arrest, facing jail sentences.

In the June 15 hearing, the local court in the Akhisar district of Manisa province accepted the objection that the suspects responsible for workplace safety should not be represented by only one lawyer, due to an apparent conflict of interest. 

The trial was therefore postponed by one day to allow the defendants to appoint separate lawyers.

In addition, two suspects Necati Karadeniz and Harun Yılmaz, who were unable to appear in court because they were serving their military service, also testified on June 15.

The trial into the Soma accident opened on April 13, during which 45 suspects, including the eight former managers from the Soma Coal Mine Company that ran the mine, denied charges of “killing with probable criminal intent,” precipitating anger among the families of the 301 victims.

Last month, one miner, Erdal Kocabıyık, who was photographed being kicked on the ground by then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s adviser, Yusuf Yerkel, during a demonstration in Soma after the disaster, was fined 548 Turkish Liras for kicking a car in Erdoğan’s convoy.