Sabancı murder suspect pleads not guilty in first plea after 20 years

Sabancı murder suspect pleads not guilty in first plea after 20 years

Sabancı murder suspect pleads not guilty in first plea after 20 years One of the suspects in the 1996 assassination of Özdemir Sabancı, which remains one of the country’s most notorious assassinations, pleaded not guilty in his first plea some 20 years after on Sept. 26, 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 after two decades on the run since he allegedly 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 in 1996. 

He and a second DHKP-C member, Fadik Adıyaman, were detained on Feb. 2 in the Aegean province of Aydın. Akkol now faces an aggravated life sentence on charges of “attempting to change the constitutional order by force of arms.”

“I have not tortured anyone in my entire life. I have not engaged in any act that would harm the public in 45 years. We will find those who tortured us whether they climb to the top of skyscrapers or hide, we will find and judge them and call them to account,” Akkol said during the hearing at the Istanbul 18th Court of Serious Crimes, adding that he would complete the rest of his plea later. 

He also said that he did not know about the third DHKP-C militant Mustafa Duyar, who was the only person convicted in the case and was killed in prison in 1999 while serving a life sentence.

“I deny all the accusations. I know Duyar’s name only from the court records. I have not met him. He had made up a scenario and added my name. I do not know anyone who is on the record. I only know about Fehriye Erdal and I have not met her either,” he said.

The court board adjourned the trial until Nov. 21 regarding Akkol’s incomplete plea, the situation of the evidence and his possible escape.

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 organization.”

In May a Belgian court had ordered the trial of Erdal in Belgium over crimes she committed in Turkey. Erdal was captured in Belgium in 1999 but was later released. Turkey is still seeking her extradition while her precise whereabouts remain a mystery.