Turkey jails 4 over attack that killed German tourists | News | DW | 06.04.2021
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Turkey jails 4 over attack that killed German tourists

A court has sentenced four men to life for their roles in a 2016 suicide bombing in central Istanbul that killed 12 German tourists. Eighteen other suspects were acquitted on the grounds of a lack of evidence.

Turkish police secure the area after an explosion in the central Istanbul Sultanahmet district

The 2016 attack was blamed on the so-called Islamic State, but the extremist group never claimed responsibility

A Turkish court sentenced four men to life in jail on Tuesday for their roles in a suicide bombing in Istanbul in January 2016.

The incident, on the city's historic Sultanahmet square, killed 12 German tourists and wounded 16 other people.

Turkey's government blamed the so-called Islamic State for the incident, but the group has never claimed responsibility.

Four suspects receive life sentences

The four suspects, already in jail, received aggravated life sentences. The Istanbul court that handed out the sentences ruled that the attack represented "an attempt to violently overthrow the constitutional order," the private DHA news agency reported.

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Aggravated life sentences are the most severe prison terms possible in Turkey since it abolished the death penalty in 2002; there is no chance for parole.

Additionally, each was also sentenced to 328 years for aiding deliberate murder with terrorist intent, among other charges, according to state news agency Anadolu.

A long-running court case

Tuesday's sentences are final after an appeals court overturned a 2018 verdict against a total of 26 suspects.

One further suspect was sentenced to over six years in jail for membership in a terrorist organization.

The court acquitted 18 further suspects, citing lack of evidence.

Meanwhile, a trial in absentia will continue against three suspects who are fugitives, Anadolu said.

In 2018, Turkish judges sentenced three Syrian nationals to life in prison for their involvement in the bombing. But an appeals court overturned that verdict for several reasons, including that the sentences were deemed too lenient.

The court did not state the nationality of those handed the sentences on Tuesday.

Turkey witnessed several attacks in 2016 blamed either on Islamic State or Kurdish militants.

kmm/msh (AFP, dpa)