- An Istanbul court on Tuesday sentenced four suspects to life imprisonment over their role in a suicide bombing that killed 12 German tourists in the city in 2016.
The four suspects, already in jail, received aggravated life sentences for “violating the constitution” and separately more than 328 years for aiding deliberate murder with terrorist intent, among other charges, according to state news agency Anadolu.
Aggravated life sentences are the most severe prison terms possible in Turkey since the country abolished the death penalty in 2002, as there is no chance for parole.
The court acquitted 18 suspects, citing lack of evidence while a trial in absentia will continue against three suspects who are fugitives, Anadolu said.
Another suspect was sentenced to over six years in jail for membership in a terrorist organisation.
Tuesday’s sentence was final after an appeals court overturned a 2018 verdict against a total of 26 suspects.
Ankara blamed the January 2016 attack on Islamic State, but no group claimed responsibility.
The bombing, the first major Islamic State attack in Istanbul, took place in the city’s historic centre in January 2016, not far from landmarks like the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.
The Islamic State extremists had carried out major attacks in Turkey, including an armed assault at an Istanbul nightclub that killed 39 people in 2017.(