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Istanbul New Year Attack Suspect Faces 40 Life Sentences - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Ankara – The General Prosecution in Turkey’s Istanbul city completed the indictment against the perpetrator of the attack against a nightclub in the city of New Year’s Eve that left 39 people dead and 69 wounded.

Prosecutors have demanded 40 life sentences and 2,397 days in jail against Uzbekistan citizen Abdulkadir Masharipov, who was captured in Istanbul in January after evading police for more than two weeks.

The ISIS militant group claimed responsibility for the mass shootings at the upscale Reina nightclub.

According to General Prosecution sources, the indictment included 57 accusations against the suspect.

Masharipov was arrested in Istanbul’s Esenyurt neighborhood on January 16. He was accompanied by an Iraqi and three women, one from Egypt, another from Somalia and the third from Senegal. It was claimed that ISIS presented the women to him as a reward for his success in the nightclub attack.

The suspect, who managed to evade arrest for two weeks, said that he received orders to carry out the attack from an ISIS leader in northern Syria. He was sent photographs and video footage from inside the club via a mobile app.

He revealed that Reina was not the terror group’s first choice as a target. It instead sought to carry out an attack in the Istanbul’s busy Taksim Square, but the heavy security in the area deterred it. Masharipov informed the group of the difficulty of the task and he was ordered two hours before the New Year attack to choose another target.

He was sent images of the Reina nightclub and he scouted the area before making his choice. He headed to his residence in Istanbul’s Zeytinburnu neighborhood to retrieve his weapons before returning to the club to carry out the attack.

The US army announced in April the death of Abdul Rahman al-Uzbeki, who is believed to have been also responsible for planning the Istanbul New Year attack.

A military spokesman said that the ISIS militant, who was killed by US forces on April 6, played a major role in the Reina attack and was responsible for recruiting militants to join the group and funding terror attacks. He was also involved in terror attacks outside of Iraq and Syria.