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İstanbul bombing prime suspect faces 7 aggravated life sentences, 3,009 years in prison

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A Turkish prosecutor has demanded seven aggravated life sentences and up to 3,009 years in prison for a Syrian woman named Ahlam Albashir, the suspected perpetrator of a deadly explosion in İstanbul, local media reported on Tuesday.

Six people were killed and 99 others wounded on Nov. 13 when an explosion rocked İstiklal Avenue, a busy pedestrian street that runs through İstanbul’s central district of Beyoğlu.

The İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court on Tuesday began to hear the trial of 36 defendants involved in the attack, including Albashir.

The indictment charged the suspects with eight crimes, including “attempting to destroy the unity of the state and its territorial integrity,” “establishing and leading an armed terrorist organization,” “premeditated murder” and “unauthorized possession or transport of hazardous materials.”

According to Turkish media reports, the prosecutor demanded aggravated life sentences and between 1,949 years and 3,009 years in prison for Albashir for murdering six people and “attempting to intentionally kill” 99 people in addition to other charges.

The Turkish government says Albashir is a Syrian national trained by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist group by Ankara and much of the international community and has waged a deadly insurgency for Kurdish self-rule in southeastern Turkey since the 1980s.

However, surprising observers, the PKK and Syrian Kurdish militant group the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) have denied any role, raising questions on social media and elsewhere about the official line.

Kurdish Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD) Co-chair Salih Muslim claimed in an interview with Fırat News Agency (ANF) in November that Albashir had links to the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA).

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