|First session of the “Mavi Marmara” trial in Turkey has concluded|
|Written by PCHR|
|Sunday, 11 November 2012 00:00|
The first session of the criminal trial on Israel’s assault on the humanitarian boat “Mavi Marmara” – resulting in the death of9 Turkish nationals and the injury of many others – was held at the Istanbul Çağlayan Courthouse (7th High Criminal Court) from 6 to 9 November 2012.
The Mavi Marmara was part of the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla,” a humanitarian convoy attacked in international waters on 31 May 2010 by Israeli special military forces while sailing towards the Gaza Strip.
The indictment, served by the Istanbul Office of Public Prosecutor, lists 490 individuals, including Mavi Marmara passengers and relatives of the activists from 36 different countries, as “complainant-victims.” The accused are: Israeli Chief of General Staff, Rau Gavriel Ashkenazi; Naval Forces Commander, Eliezer Alfred Maron; Air Forces Intelligence Director, Avishay Levi; and Chief of Israeli Military Intelligence, Amos Yadlin.
The accused, represented by lawyers from the Istanbul Bar Association, are being tried as “fugitive suspects” inabsentiafor the following charges under the Turkish Penal Code: voluntary manslaughter; attempted voluntary manslaughter; intentionally causing grievously bodily harm; plundering, abducting or confiscating maritime or railway transportation vehicles; intentionally causing damage to property; deprivation of personal freedom; and inflicting torture and maltreatment.
During the three days of hearings, the court heard testimony from 74 Turkish and foreign eyewitnesses and complainants; the latter were able to submit further evidence, including footage shot during the attack. Upon conclusion of the first session, the court issued its decision to postpone the trial to 21 February 2013.
In addition, the court has decided the following:
1- To check the validity of notices sent to the defendants;
2- To hear in the next session those complainants who have not been heard due to lack of time;
3- To askfor the medical reports concerning Mr.UğurSüleymanSöylemez, a passenger of the Mavi Marmara who hasbeen in a coma for 2.5 years.
The trial wasclosely monitored by numerous human rights observers, media officials and lawyers from different countries.Mr. DavideTundo, a member of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights’ (PCHR)International Unit, attended the trial as an observer.
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