First hearing of Soma mine disaster to be held in April

First hearing of Soma mine disaster to be held in April

MANİSA –Doğan News Agency
First hearing of Soma mine disaster to be held in April

DHA Photo

The first hearing into the Soma mine disaster, in which 301 workers were killed, is set to be held on April 13 after a Manisa court accepted the indictment of charges against 45 suspects.

The case will be heard by the Akhisar Court of Serious Crimes. There will be no time limit for the hearing.

The case will include 436 people as witnesses, 162 miners affected by smoke as victims and 437 relatives of killed miners as complainants.

Those involved in the case will be able to choose whether to attend the hearing or testify from their present locations. Additional hearings will be arranged for new suspects that may emerge following the initial testimonies.

The prosecutors have demanded that the eight arrested suspects each be sentenced to 301 jail terms of 20-25 years and 162 jail terms ranging from two to six years on charges of willful negligence. The suspects also face between two and 25 years in jail for manslaughter of multiple people.  Jail terms may be increased for 25 of the 37 suspects on conscious negligence charges.

Soma Coal Mine Company CEO Can Gürkan, General Manager Ramazan Doğru, Operating Manager Akın Çelik, shift supervisors Yasin Kurnaz, Hilmi Kazık and İsmail Adalı and technicians Ertan Ersoy and Mehmet Ali Günay have been arrested as a part of the probe.

Former Manisa Bar Association head Zeynel Balkız said a part of the judicial process was missing due to the absence of an investigation into public officials.

The Council of State has suspended a decision by the Labor Ministry, preventing an investigation of the public officials responsible for the disaster, Balkız said, adding that he was still expecting those officers to be involved in the case.