A suspect who presented evidence that he had been 140 km away at the time of a murder incident has been sentenced to 124 years in prison in one of the ‘Kobane trials’, DW Turkish reported.
The suspect, Mazlum İ., had been arrested after the violent incidents in October 2014 in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakır (Amed) that resulted in multiple deaths, and had been charged with the murder of four individuals, including 16-year-old Yasin Börü.
Fourteen years old at the time of his arrest, Mazlum has been imprisoned for seven years and recently received a final verdict.
Mazlum had objected to the allegations, indicating that he had been working at a wedding party event as a musician in the Kulp district of Diyarbakır at the time of the incident.
As the court initially took no steps to investigate his claims, Mazlum’s lawyer presented supporting evidence, including images from the wedding party near a village 140 km away from the city of Diyarbakır, showing Mazlum playing drums in a music band alongside his father who was also a member of the band.
Then a ‘witness’ appeared to testify against Mazlum, claiming that he had “heard” Mazlum was “close to the youth wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).”
Although other suspects accused by the same ‘witness’ S.Ç. turned out to be present in other places during the incidents of crime and one named Ahmet A. Y. even turned out to be in prison at the time, the court relied on the testimony of that ‘witness’ and found Mazlum guilty.
The court based its decision also on ‘probable identification’ of an individual seen in video footage obtained from the scene of the incident which, it presumed, could be Mazlum.
The ruling had been reversed in the Supreme Court of Appeals in 2020 and had reviewed in May 2021. This time, the images showing Mazlum being present at the wedding were put through a thorough examination with confirmation received from the authorities that the wedding had actually taken place at the indicated time.
Two witnesses then had been heard in court. M.B., the groom at the wedding, said that Mazlum had worked during the wedding party alongside his father throughout the day and evening until late at night. İ.A., a taxi driver, also stated that he had driven Mazlum and his father to the wedding party on 7 October and back the next day.
A document had also been presented to the court which indicated that the signals from Mazlum’s mobile phone showed that he was located at the the time of the incident at a place between the district of Kulp and the district of Lice, both very far from the scene of the crime incident.
As the prosecutor consequently called for the acquittal of Mazlum, the court decided during the following session on 25 June to release Mazlum. However, the prosecutor this time objected to his release and the court changed its decision, keeping Mazlum in custody.
The court’s ultimate decision was made on 29 September 2021 after the appearance of a new ‘witness’ İ.Ö., who claimed that he ‘saw’ Mazlum taking part in the activities of the PKK’s youth wing in 2014.
The court sentenced Mazlum to 124 years in prison on charges of “murdering four people” and “disrupting the unity of the country,” indicating in its decision that “the precise date of the images of the wedding party could not be determined” and that the CD containing the images was not the original one.