Turkey: 28 on trial over Russian ambassador's slaying

CAPTION CORRECTS THE TRIAL INFO FILE - In this Monday, Dec. 19, 2016 file photo Mevlut Mert Altintas, an off-duty policeman, shouts after shooting Andrei Karlov, right, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, at an art gallery in Ankara, Turkey. Altintas was killed by police shortly afterwards. A trial against 28 people accused of involvement in Karlov's killing begins in Ankara on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici, File)

The trial of 28 people accused of roles in the assassination of Russia's ambassador to Turkey opened Tuesday in Ankara, among them a U.S.-based Muslim cleric whom Turkey blames for a failed coup the same year

ANKARA, Turkey — The trial of 28 people accused of roles in the assassination of Russia's ambassador to Turkey opened Tuesday in Ankara, among them a U.S.-based Muslim cleric whom Turkey blames for a failed coup the same year.

An off-duty police officer, Mevlut Mert Altintas, fatally shot Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov at a photo exhibition in the Turkish capital on Dec. 19, 2016. Other officers later shot and killed the gunman at the scene.

Turkish prosecutors concluded that a network led by Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen was behind Karlov's slaying and the attack was meant to derail warming ties between Turkey and Russia.

They have charged 16 of the defendants, including Gulen, with "violating the constitutional order," ''membership in a terror organization" and "premeditated murder with the intention of causing terror." Prosecutors are seeking life prison sentences for those convicted.

Twelve others face maximum 15-year terms on charges of membership in a terror group.

Gulen, who has lived in the United States since 1999, has denied involvement in the coup or the Russian diplomat's assassination.

Other defendants include former police officers, the photo exhibit's organizer, a former Turkish intelligence agent and a former Turkish newspaper columnist who also now lives in the United States.

Serif Ali Tekalan, the former president of a Gulen-linked university and the current president of North American University in Texas, also is among the 28 suspects.

Fourteen of the defendants appeared in court on Tuesday, while four others were connected to the courtroom by a video link from separate prisons. Gulen and several others are being tried in absentia.

Six of the defendants, including ex-police officers who attended the same police academy as the gunman, gave testimony Tuesday. They denied links to Gulen.

A court in April issued arrest warrants for Gulen and seven other people in connection with the killing. Turkey is seeking Gulen's extradition from the United States.

Associated Press photographer Burhan Ozbilici won the 2017 World Press Photo competition for his image of the gun-wielding policeman standing over the body of the Russian ambassador immediately after he shot Karlov.

You may also like these

Truck bomb kills 90, wounds hundreds in Afghan...

May 31, 2017

A suicide bomber driving a truck crammed with explosives has attacked the fortified heart of the...

The Latest: Australia stands by Afghanistan after...

Jun 1, 2017

Australia's prime minister has told Parliament that he telephoned Afghan President Ashraf Ghani "to...

Third time's charm on visas for Afghan girls...

Jul 13, 2017

Third time's the charm for war-torn Afghanistan's all girls team who have been applying for U.S....

The Latest: Afghanistan says 2 Iraq embassy staff...

Jul 31, 2017

Afghanistan's Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish has said that two Afghan employees died in...

Watchdog: Tight security hinders oversight of US...

Aug 1, 2017

The U.S. watchdog tasked with overseeing the spending of U.S. aid to Afghanistan said unprecedented...

About Us

The Journalist Report publishes timely news updates around the clock. We have a group of journalists around the globe to deliver the latest news around so that we can get our users connected.

Contact us: sales[at]thejournalistreport.com

Subscribe Now!