Prosecutors demand 18 aggravated life sentences for Istanbul suicide attack suspects
AFP photoAn indictment prepared by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has demanded a total of 18 aggravated life sentences for five Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants related to the deadly suicide attack on İstiklal Avenue in central Istanbul on March 19.
Four tourists were killed in the attack in Istanbul’s Taksim area, as well as the assailant Mehmet Öztürk, who exploded a suicide vest. Some 44 people were injured in the blast.
Three suspects in the case - identified as Ercan Ç., Erkan Ç., Hüseyin K. – are charged with being senior figures within ISIL, while two suspects – identified as Mehmet Mustafa Ç. and İbrahim G. – are charged with being members. The indictment also included as evidence the finding of two suicide jackets buried under the ground for later use.
Prosecutors demanded five aggravated life sentences for Ercan Ç., Erkan Ç. and Hüseyin K. on charges of “intentional murder” and one aggravated life sentence each on charges of “attempting to abolish the constitutional order.”
Prosecutors demanded prison sentences of between 7.5 and 15 years for Mehmet Mustafa Ç. and İbrahim G. on charges of “terrorist organization membership.”
All victims of the İstiklal Avenue attack, besides the attacker Öztürk, were foreign nationals: Israeli citizens Simha Siman Demri, Yonathan Suher and Avraham Godman, and Iranian citizen Ali Rıza Khalman.
Then Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu condemned the “inhuman” attack in a written statement, extending his condolences to the families of the victims and wishing the injured a speedy recovery.
“On behalf of my country, nation and government, I condemn the murderers who committed this atrocious attack which directly targeted people without any discrimination, as well as all traitors who supported and instigated them to carry out such an inhuman act,” Davutoğlu had said at the time.