Turkey: Malatya murderers’ 39-year prison sentences upheld

By Barbara G. Baker | World Watch Monitor

Six months after five Turkish men were convicted of the grisly murders of three Christians in southeast Turkey ten years ago, an appeals court has upheld their three consecutive life sentences in prison.

The regional Gaziantep 3rd Criminal Court of Appeals decision on 18 July confirmed the incarceration of Emre Gunaydin, Salih Gurler, Abuzer Yildirim, Cuma Ozdemir and Hamit Ceker for 39 years and nine months.

Then between 19 and 21 years of age, the five murderers had tortured with knives and then slashed the throats of Turkish Christians Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel and German Protestant Tilmann Geske at the Zirve Christian publishing house in Malatya on 18 April 2007. The slain Christians left behind two widows, five young children and a fiancée.