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PKK bomber gets 7 life terms for Istanbul attack

PKK bomber gets 7 life terms for Istanbul attack

Baku, April 26, AZERTAC

Ahlam Albashir, a Syrian member of the terrorist group PKK, was handed down seven instances of aggravated life imprisonment and another 1,794 years in prison for her role in a terror attack at Istanbul’s Istiklal Street on November 3, 2022, according to Daily Sabah.

A court in Istanbul charged her with “disrupting state’s unity and integrity” and homicide for the attack which also injured 99 others. Six Turkish citizens, two members each of three families, were killed in the attack on the busy street packed with shoppers and tourists.

The prosecutor has asked for seven instances of aggravated life imprisonment and an additional prison term of up to 3,009 years for Albashir in an earlier hearing in February.

Albashir was among 15 defendants in custody while others were released earlier pending trial.

She was caught on security camera footage as she left the explosive device on Istiklal Street, shortly before a blast ripped through the street filled with locals and tourists. The prosecutor asked for separate sentences for Albashir on charges of membership in a terrorist group, attacking the country’s unity, the deliberate killing of a child and bombing, as well as illicit possession of dangerous materials. The prosecutor’s indictment said the bomb attack was ordered and orchestrated by senior leaders of the PKK, including Cemil Bayık, Sabri Ok and Ferhat Abdi Şahin, and asked for a separate trial involving those people. The indictment also called for the arrest of seven defendants who were released early pending trial and asked for a “Red Notice,” or international arrest warrant for a fugitive defendant.

Albashir, who was captured shortly after the terrorist attack, infiltrated into Türkiye from Syria where the PKK’s Syrian wing YPG is active. She was accommodated at a “safe house” of the terrorist group in Istanbul before running a reconnaissance mission before the attack.

The defendant said she regretted her actions and claimed that she was unaware that a bag she was asked to carry contained explosives. “They (other PKK-linked suspects) asked me to take photos on the street,” she said.

She also claimed some other defendants in the trial were innocent and they were “linked” to her just because she stayed in their homes.

“They have nothing to do with terrorism. You can punish me. I consent to any sentence you will give,” she told the court. “I am an orphan and did not want anybody to be left orphaned. I can’t sleep at night because people died that day,” she said.

In retort, the prosecutor said she should be "punished with the curse of the children she left orphaned" and any person with a conscience would not sleep anyway after carrying out such an attack.

At Friday's hearing, Albashir said she had nothing to say about the charges and accepted any punishment for the explosion and the deceased while saying Ammar Jarkas, another defendant, had nothing to do with the attack.

The court also sentenced 14 other defendants in the case accused of aiding and abetting Albashir to prison terms varying between four years to 1,035 years, while 12 defendants were acquitted. A separate trial will be held for 10 other defendants who remain at large.

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