Middle East

Turkey jails five people for life over Russian envoy's 2016 killing

ANKARA (REUTERS) – A Turkish court on Tuesday (March 9) sentenced five people to life in jail over the 2016 assassination of the Russian ambassador to Ankara, state broadcaster TRT Haber reported.

Mr Andrei Karlov was shot dead by an off-duty policeman while speaking at an Ankara exhibition opening in December 2016.

The gunman shouted “Allahu Akbar” and “Don’t forget Aleppo!” as he opened fire, apparently referring to Russia’s involvement in Syria’s war.

He was shot dead by police at the scene.

TRT said three of the suspects were given two life sentences without parole, while two others received one life sentence each, also without parole.

One of the defendants was an organiser of the attack and another was a former intelligence officer believed to have leaked information about Mr Karlov to the network, it said.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said the movement of United States-based cleric Fethullah Gulen was behind the assassination, a charge Gulen has denied.

Ankara also blames Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the US since 1999, for a failed coup in 2016.

In 2018 Turkey indicted 28 people over the killing, naming Gulen as the prime suspect.

The suspects were charged with attempting to “overthrow the constitutional order”, membership of a terrorist organisation and of premeditated murder.

The cases of Gulen and nine others were being handled separately.

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