Ten Gets Aggravated Life Sentence for 2015 Ankara Bombing

Ten suspected ISIS militants were sentenced to life imprisonment on Monday for a second time in a retrial over their role in twin bombings that killed 101 people in Turkey’s capital in 2015.

The 10 Turkish men were originally jailed for life in 2018 for planning the suicide bombings and for murder. Each got 101 life sentences at the time, one for each of the victims.

But lawyers for the families of people killed in the blasts appealed to the Constitutional Court in 2018, saying the men should be tried for more offences, and also arguing that there should be a wider investigation into alleged security failings by the state.

The Constitutional Court did not call for a wider investigation but agreed to order a retrial so the men could be also be tried for the charge of breaching the victims’ right to life.

The ten - who have denied wrongdoing and said they are not ISIS militants - were convicted again on all offences, and again received multiple life sentences on Monday.

Gulsah Kaya, one of the lawyers of the bombing victims, told reporters outside the court that the verdict had again failed to reveal the “true face” of the 2015 bombing.

“Not a single police officer, not a single security personnel were tried in this case,” she said.

Turkish authorities have repeatedly said the fight against ISIS is an utmost priority, and have denied accusations of security failings after several militant attacks.

The Oct. 10, 2015 blasts in Ankara killed mainly young pro-Kurdish and left-wing activists at a rally in Ankara.

They took place 20 days before a fiercely contested national election, raising tensions between the authorities and opposition supporters among the Kurdish community, Turkey’s largest minority.

At the time ISIS was increasingly active in Turkey. A gun and bomb attack - blamed on the group - at Istanbul’s main airport in June 2016 killed 47 people, while the bombing of a Kurdish wedding in the southern city of Gaziantep two months later killed 57.

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