Mine chiefs on trial over Turkey's Soma tragedy

2015-04-15 20:07
(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Akhisar - Eight former managers from the mine where Turkey's worst mining disaster occurred in May 2014 appeared in court Wednesday on murder charges, with prosecutors demanding they spend the rest of their lives in jail.

Three-hundred-and-one workers were killed in the disaster at the Soma coal mine in western Turkey that exposed horrendous safety shortcomings in the country's mining industry.

Relatives of the victims burst into tears in the courtroom.

"My daughter was just three days old when her father died!" shouted one widow. "May Allah burn these sinners in hell for eternity," yelled another.

A total of 45 suspects are on trial over the tragedy but eight former managers from the Soma Komur group that ran the mine have been accused of "killing with probable criminal intent" and risk spending the rest of their lives in jail.

Security fears

The eight, who include former chief executive Can Gurkan and general manager Ramazan Dogru, were not brought to the court on the first day of the trial on Monday for security reasons.

However, this infuriated the relatives of the victims and the judge rapidly adjourned the trial, ruling the eight should appear on Wednesday.

The eight arrived at the court in the early morning, entering by the back door and protected by 250 members of the security forces, police said.

In his initial testimony read by a clerk, Gurkan said he could not be held responsible for the safety problems at the mine.

"I am not an engineer, a technician or a workplace safety expert. I am just an executive and as I have no technical expertise I cannot be held responsible for the accident," he said.

Inhaling gas and toxic smoke

Prosecutors say that the miners were killed after inhaling gas and toxic smoke from the fire which was caused when an abandoned pile of coal left next to an electrical transformer caught fire.

Prosecutors in their indictment asked for 25 year sentences for each of the eight, multiplied 301 times for every victim.

This would result in a total sentence for each of 7 525 years in prison.

They also face three-year sentences for each of the more than 160 wounded. The terms of the indictment were confirmed at Wednesday's hearing.

The other 37 suspects also face hefty sentences on charges of homicide by negligence.

Read more on:    turkey

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.