The fifth hearing of the Mavi Marmara trial will take place at the Caglayan Courthouse on the 27th March at 10am at the Criminal Court offices. 74 criminal court lawyers from 19 different countries as well as injured victims, families of those who have been martyred and those who have suffered as a consequence of the Mavi Marmara from all over Turkey will also be present at the hearing.
As the procedural process is completed now, the victims and the lawyers for the prosecution, who have been waiting for the court hearings are now expecting to hear a final decision regarding the defendants' outcome.
Israeli armed forces carried out an attack against Mavi Marmara, which was carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, and other ships in the Freedom Flotilla as the flotilla was travelling in the international waters on 31 May, 2010. Nine humanitarian activists Furkan Doğan, Cevdet Kılıçlar, İbrahim Bilgen, Necdet Yıldırım, Fahri Yaldız, Ali Haydar Bengi, Cengiz Akyüz, Çetin Topçuoğlu, Cengiz Songür and journalist Cevdet Kılıçlar were killed in the attack while more than 50 passengers were injured. Israel illegally violated the passengers’ right to communicate and the passengers were illegally jailed by the country.
Following the Mavi Marmara attack, families of the martyrs and other passengers on board the ship began a major legal struggle against Israel. The four accused in the trial are former Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of General Staff Gen. Rau Gavriel Ashkenazi, Naval Forces Commander Eliezer Alfred Maron, Israel's Chief of Israeli Intelligence Amos Yadlin and Air Forces Intelligence Director Avishay Levi.
Istanbul Chief Prosecutor in Turkey prepared the indictment on 29 May 2012, as a result of the attack on the flotilla, and have requested the following charges to include: “Willful killing”, “attempt of willful killing”, “intentionally causing serious injury to body or health”, “plundering”, “hijacking or seizing maritime vessels”, “intentionally causing damage to property”, “restriction of people's freedom and instigating violent crime” for each and every person involved in the attack, which will add to a total of thousands of years to the final prison sentence.
Evidence has been shown that in order for the attacks to go ahead, the direct order had come from well-known senior high ranking officials. Statements in Israeli media and the evidence given during the Turkell Commission admissions have formed part of the court case against four senior military officials that were presented to the Istanbul Magistrates Court for “inciting to kill monstrously, and by torturing.” The four officials, Israel’s former chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gavriel Ashkenazi, along with former Israeli Navy head Vice Admiral Eliezer Marom, former Israel Air Force intelligence chief Avishai Levy and former Military Intelligence head Amos Yadlin have been served tried as escapee defendants.
The first hearing was held on the 6th, 7th and 9th November 2012, further hearings were held on the 21st February 2013, 21st May 2013 and 10th October 2013.
During the hearings, the court heard from 50 foreign witnesses from USA, Bahrain, Belgium, Algeria, Indonesia, South Afrida, Holland, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Macedonia, Pakistan, Turkey, Jordan, Yemen, Syria and Greece. There were a total of 195 people from Turkey who have suffered as a consequence of the flotilla raid in the hearings.
Meaning of the case filed in Turkey
In consideration of the fact that both Turkey and Israel signed European Convention on Extradition (SİDAS), if the İstanbul court convicts the suspects, Israel will need to extradite them.
In addition, the Turkey branch Interpol will be able to ask the General Secretariat of Interpol to issue red notice for the suspects for the execution of the rulings of the İstanbul 7th High Criminal Court or arrest warrants issued by the court earlier. If these happen, Israel will need to extradite the suspects to Turkey.
UN report on the attack
A Mavi Marmara report voted and approved by the United Nations Human Rights Council said that provisions of the 4thGeneva Convention were violated due to the illegal acts committed during the attack.