4 ex-Israeli commanders indicted over raid

May 23, 2012 at 10:55 AM
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ISTANBUL, Turkey, May 23 (UPI) -- A Turkish prosecutor's indictment seeks life prison sentences for four ex-Israeli commanders involved in the 2010 attack on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara ship.

The May 31, 2010, attack, in which eight Turks and one Turkish-American citizen were killed, has strained relations between Israel and Turkey.

The Turkish daily newspaper Sabah reported Wednesday the 144-page indictment prepared by Istanbul Specially Authorized Prosecutor Mehmet Akif Ekinci has been sent to Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor Turan Colakkadi, who can approve or reject it, Today's Zaman reported.

The indictment mentions 10 "slain Turks," including Suleyman Soylemez, who was injured in the raid and remains in a vegetative state, as well as 189 people who were injured, Sabah reported.

The indictments seeks 10 life prison sentences for each of the four former Israeli commanders -- former Israeli army Chief of General Staff Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, former naval commander Vice Adm. Eliezer Marom, former military intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin and former air force intelligence head Brig. Gen. Avishai Levi.

Israel set up a commission to investigate the attack on the Mavi Marmara, an aid ship that was part of a flotilla seeking to break the blockade Israel imposed on the Gaza Strip. But Turkish leaders dismissed the Israeli investigation.

A Turkish inquiry concluded the Gaza blockade and the Israeli raid were illegal and Turkey has called the raid a violation of international law "tantamount to banditry and piracy" and the killings of activists "state-sponsored terrorism."

Turkey said its commission was "surprised, appalled and dismayed that the national inquiry process in Israel has resulted in the exoneration of the Israeli armed forces."

Turkey has called for an official apology from Israel and a lifting of the Gaza blockade. Israel has rejected both demands.

Turkey has expelled the Israeli ambassador and suspended military agreements it had with Israel.

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