Belgian court hands down 15-year jail sentence to Erdal for Sabancı murder

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Turkish DHKP-C member Fehriye Erdal (R) flashes the V-sign of victory as she comes out of a session of her trial at the Brugge correctionnal court with Musa Asoglu (L), Wednesday 25 January 2006. / AFP BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM (Photo credit should read DIRK WAEM/AFP/Getty Images)

A Belgian court on Monday sentenced far-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) member Fehriye Erdal in absentia to 15 years in prison for the murder of Turkish businessman Özdemir Sabancı in 1996 in İstanbul.

In addition to the 15 years in prison, Erdal was sentenced to the deprivation of civil and political rights for 10 years.

In the first hearing of the case at the Bruges court on Dec. 5, 2016, an aggravated sentence of 30 years in prison was demanded for Erdal by the prosecutor, as well as another 15 years of additional security measures.

Erdal is the prime suspect among three DHKP-C members in the assassination of Özdemir Sabancı, the head of Sabancı Holding, one of the biggest family-owned conglomerates in Turkey, along with Haluk Görgün, director of the holding’s Toyota distributer ToyotaSa, and his secretary Nilgün Hasefe at İstanbul’s Sabancı Center 21 years ago.

Fehriye Erdal was an employee at the center and provided access to her accomplices, İsmail Akkol and Mustafa Duyar.

Erdal first fled to Greece and then to Belgium. She was captured in Belgium in 1999; however, Belgium refused to extradite her to Turkey. In 1999, Erdal was caught in Belgium for possessing a fake passport. The suspect was later released and was put under house arrest, then fled in 2006. Her whereabouts remain unknown.

İsmail Akkol, one of the other accomplices, was also detained in February 2016 in Turkey after 20 years. The only one convicted among the accomplices was Mustafa Duyar. He was sentenced to life in prison but was killed in a prison revolt in 1999.

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