Istiklal Street bombing trial: Court releases six defendants

Istiklal Street bombing trial: Court releases six defendants
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The latest hearing in a terrorism case sees partial relief as six individuals gain freedom while the main suspect faces severe charges.

By Osman Cakli

The 13th High Criminal Court at the Istanbul Caglayan Courthouse convened today for the fifth hearing of the high-profile lawsuit stemming from a tragic bomb attack on Istiklal (Pera) Street. The assault, which occurred on November 13, 2022, claimed the lives of six innocent people and left 99 others injured. Six of the 36 accused individuals were released from custody during today's proceedings, marking a significant development in the ongoing legal process.

The released individuals include Mahmoud Haso, Hadice Alkurdia, Salih Carkes, Hadir Carkes, and Yasir Al Korali. These releases come amidst continued deliberations over the involvement of each defendant in the case. The primary suspect, Ahlam Albashir, who is alleged to have personally planted the handmade bomb that wreaked havoc on the bustling Taksim thoroughfare, remains in detention.

In the aftermath of the devastating attack, authorities launched a swift operation, resulting in the apprehension of Albashir, who is accused of leaving the explosive device on the street. The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office has since prepared an indictment demanding severe punishment for the 36 defendants implicated in the attack, with Albashir facing the most severe consequences.

The court has requested seven instances of aggravated life imprisonment for Albashir, in addition to a potential prison sentence ranging from 1,949 to 3,000 years. This reflects the gravity of the charges, which include multiple counts of homicide and the causing of mass injury through terrorist activities.

During the hearing, it was disclosed that three released individuals had shared a residence with Albashir. Despite this connection, they maintained that their activities were limited to human trafficking and unrelated to the bombing. After evaluating various statements and evidence, the court committee elected to release these three individuals, marking the first instance of release since the case began.

As the legal proceedings unfold, the next hearing has been scheduled for January 22, 2024. The court will continue to assess the evidence and testimonies to determine the extent of each defendant's involvement in the heinous act that shook Istanbul and the nation.