Turkish judicial authorities on Wednesday affirmed an aggravated life sentence for Alparslan Arslan, the perpetrator of a deadly 2006 attack on one of the country’s top courts.
Arslan shot dead Judge Mustafa Yucel Ozbilgin and wounded four others, Mustafa Birden, Ayla Gonenc, Ayfer Ozdemir and Ahmet Cobanoglu, in the attack at the Council of State on May 17, 2006. The Ankara criminal court had separately sentenced Arslan to 72 years in prison for attempting to kill the other four top judges.
The initial court ruling went for appeal, and the 16th penal chamber of the State of Council on Wednesday affirmed the decision after a full inspection of the case was concluded.
Mahmut Guzel and Erkan Ayyildiz, two other defendants of the case, were slapped with up to five years of jail time, whereas other suspects Osman Yildirim, Erhan Timuroglu and Ismail Sagir received over 39 years each for aiding first-degree murder.
State prosecutors had originally alleged that the attack was related to what they claimed was a much larger conspiracy which would be tried in the so-called Ergenekon trials dating back to 2007, when a cache of explosives was found at the home of a former military officer.
On Aug. 5, 2013, the appeals court separated the case from Ergenekon on the grounds that the local court had failed to show “legal and actual links” between an armed attack at the Council of State and the Ergenekon plot, which allegedly sought to overthrow the country’s elected government.
In 2017, Turkish authorities said the 2013 Ergenekon trial was based on fabricated evidence and accused the prosecutors of being members of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) trying to purge the military of non-FETO officers.
FETO, led by US-based Fetullah Gulen, is accused of orchestrating the July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey — which martyred 251 people and injured thousands — as well as being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through infiltrating Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
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