Turkish military court suspends sentences in soldier’s death case

Turkish military court suspends sentences in soldier’s death case

A military court has sentenced three soldiers to 10-month suspended sentences over the beating to death of a soldier, a ruling that the family of the late soldier has vowed to appeal.

The Eskişehir military court handed 10-month sentences to Gendarmerie Senior Sergeant Özay Ayvaz, Gendarmerie Sergeants Muhittin Baş and Mustafa Korkmaz, on charges of “physical violence to an inferior,” which allegedly caused the death of Esat Mengilli, who was serving his compulsory service in the Aegean province of Afyonkarahisar in 2007.

The court suspended the sentences and also acquitted the fourth suspect, Gendarmerie Sergeant Sinal Almış.

Private Mengilli fell after running for around 2,000 meters during training in his gendarmerie training battalion command in Afyonkarahisar on Feb. 7, 2007. He later died in Emirdağ State hospital due to a heart attack, according to the doctor’s report.

Around a year later, soldiers who performed their military service together with Mengilli visited his family to tell them that he had been beaten by the four commanders both before and after the training session. His father, Yusuf Mengilli, then filed a complaint and an indictment was completed on July 21, 2009, demanding that the court try four commanders for 10 years jail sentences on charges of “violence against an inferior which may have ended in death.”

During the trial on Sept. 23, the court decided on a one year jail term for Ayvaz, Baş and Korkmaz for “violence against inferior,” before reducing these sentences to 10 months due to good conduct. The court also suspended the sentences.

Yusuf Mengilli said the sentences were much too low and added that they would appeal the decision. “The sentences are too low. We will appeal. Esat Mengilli was my only son … I entrusted my son to his commanders but he was killed by them,” he added.