ISIL’s Istanbul nightclub attack hearing held behind closed doors for ‘public security’

ISIL’s Istanbul nightclub attack hearing held behind closed doors for ‘public security’

ISIL’s Istanbul nightclub attack hearing held behind closed doors for ‘public security’

A hearing into the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attack at Istanbul’s Reina nightclub, which left 39 people dead and 79 wounded, was held behind closed doors over “public security.”

During the hearing on Dec. 14 into the attack in the early hours of Jan. 1, 2017, the court emptied the courtroom in order for the defense of the attack’s suspected planner, Abdurrauf Sert, to be taken “without it affecting public security.”

The trial of the ISIL attack, which was carried out by Uzbek-origin Abdulkadir Masharipov, 34, started on Dec. 11 at a courtroom inside the Silivri prison complex.

A total of 57 suspects are being tried in the case, with Masharipov facing 40 aggravated life sentences, one for each of the victims and one for the massacre itself, and up to 2,397 years in jail for the deadly armed attack.

Before the start of Sert’s defense on Dec. 14, everyone except suspects, their lawyers, the plaintiff’s lawyers, a French interpreter and the security forces were asked to leave the courtroom.

According to the indictment prepared by Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office into the case, Sert was carrying out joint jihadist activities with Masharipov, who was using the ISIL codename “Abu Mohammed al-Horasani.”

“The suspect [Sert] is a member of the ISIL terrorist group who was actively carrying out activities with Abdulkadir Masharipov and has the same potential to conduct attacks similar to him,” the indictment read.

Masharipov was apprehended in a massive police operation in Istanbul’s Esenyurt district on Jan. 16. According to the indictment, a picture of the rental contract for the house where Masharipov was staying was found on Sert’s cellphone.

Sert is also allegedly an aid of another suspected ISIL “emir” Eyüp Korkusuz, who is accused of managing safe houses for the jihadist group.

The testimonies of other suspects were also heard during the hearing on Dec. 14, with an arrested suspect telling the Istanbul 27th Heavy Penal Court that “he has nothing to do with ISIL.”

Kuerban Muhemmedemınşeyh also said he went out onto the streets against the July 15, 2016 coup attempt upon President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s call, saying that if he were an ISIL militant, he wouldn’t be out on the streets.

“I was out on the streets for days during the treacherous coup attempt. ISIL has waged war on the Republic of Turkey. If I were an ISIL militant, I wouldn’t have been on the streets on July 15,” said Muhemmedemınşeyh, who is accused of being in contact with suspected jihadists who provided logistical support to Masharipov.

Another suspect who was apprehended with notebook filled with information on how to construct a bomb near the Syrian border also denied his links with ISIL.

Abdurrahman Aıhemaıtıtuohet said he entered Turkey through legal means in June 2016 and claimed that the notebook did not belong to him.