14
Wednesday
November 2018
1:26 AM IST
News Headlines
Preparing for Australia tour by watching videos: Shami        India invites Swedish companies to explore investment opportunities        Govt cancels ED officer Rajeshwar Singh's leave        175 dead, over 10,000 affected by Nigeria cholera outbreak        Lankan parties move SC against Parliament dissolution by Prez Sirisena        Delhi pollution: Task forces conducts meetings on WhatsApp for urgent decisions        PM slams Rahul, Sonia for questioning note ban; need no certificate from those on bail        70 per cent turnout in first phase of Chhattisgarh polls: EC        Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha attacks NDA ally Nitish Kumar amid reports of RLSP MLA joining JD(U)        Mining Baron Janardhana Reddy Remanded in Custody Till November 24 for 'Shielding' Ponzi Scam Accused Father-Son        Death toll hits 25 from wildfires at both ends of California        "Nationalism Betrayal Of Patriotism": Emmanuel Macron, Trump By His Side        3rd T20: Dhawan, Pant take Ind to victory, series win        FC Goa beat Kerala Blasters 3-1 in ISL        One killed, several injured in stabbing attack in Melbourne: Police        Journalists beware: After Bloomberg bots, AI news presenter debuts in China        Harmanpreet Kaur’s record century headlines India’s big win over NZ in opener        Mumbai City end NorthEast United’s unbeaten run        Chelsea beat BATE 1-0 in Europa League        Srikanth enters pre-quarterfinals of China Open        
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International News
Turkey jails mine bosses over 2014 disaster that killed 301
 
Istanbul, Jul 11 (AFP) A Turkish court today handed jail terms of up to 22 years to five top managers convicted of negligence over Turkey's worst ever mining disaster, which claimed hundreds of lives.

The accident in May 2014 killed 301 people when one of the pits of the Soma mine became engulfed by flames and carbon monoxide gas, trapping 800 miners working inside.

The tragedy sparked protests and raised new concerns about Turkey's dire industrial safety record. Relatives and the opposition denounced today's verdicts -- handed out on negligence rather than murder convictions -- as outrageously lenient after prosecutors had initially demanded terms of 301 times 25 years for all the main suspects.

After a trial lasting over three years, the court in the western Turkish town of Akhisar jailed the former CEO of the Soma mine, Can Gurkan, for 15 years, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

The mine's general manager Ramazan Dogru and technical manager Ismail Adali were handed prison sentences of 22 years and six months, and operations manager Akin Celik and technical supervisor Ertan Ersoy 18 years and nine months, it added.

The chairman of the Soma Mines Company which owned the mine, Alp Gurkan, the father of Can Gurkan, was acquitted along with 36 other suspects.

Out of 51 suspects on trial, nine other lower-ranking mine managers were given jail terms of six to 11 years.

The Dogan news agency said the verdicts prompted victims' lawyers and families to walk out of court in protest. Emergency services needed to be called as several collapsed due to stress, it added.

The opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) slammed the sentences, which it said were drawn up in advance as a result of pressure from the company and the authorities.

"Justice has not come for Soma and... the law has, once again, gone bankrupt," its deputy chairman Veli Agbaba said in a statement.

Alp Gurkan had denied responsibility for the disaster, asking when the trial opened in April 2015 to be freed "to do our own research and shed light on the accident".

Turkey's Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DISK) expressed outrage that the convictions had been made on the lesser negligence charges, arguing the mine had failed to take necessary precautions and had overworked its employees.

"Three-hundred-and-one of our worker brothers lost their lives before our eyes as a result as a slaughter," said its chairwoman Arzu Cerkezoglu.

"This is not called negligence or a mistake. It is a crime. We do not accept this decision," she added in a statement.

The accident on May 13, 2014, exposed the lacklustre reaction of the government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was prime minister at the time.

Prosecutors said that the miners were killed after inhaling gas and toxic smoke from the fire which was caused when an abandoned pile of coal left next to an electrical transformer caught fire.

Erdogan had notoriously appeared to play down the disaster, saying that "accidents are in the nature of the business" and comparing it to accidents in industrial revolution-era Britain.

The verdict hearing had been scheduled for July 9, the day Erdogan was inaugurated for a third term.

However, it was postponed after one of the judges fell sick. The tragedy sparked protests that rattled the government a year after mass nationwide anti-government rallies, with an advisor to Erdogan, Yusuf Yerkel, inflaming tensions by kicking a protester in Soma.


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"Nationalism Betrayal Of Patriotism": Emmanuel Macron, Trump By His Side
One killed, several injured in stabbing attack in Melbourne: Police
Journalists beware: After Bloomberg bots, AI news presenter debuts in China
Russia says it thwarted drone attacks at World Cup
Pak PM Imran Khan wishes Hindu community on Diwali
UK opens up armed forces recruitment to more Indians
US midterms: Key factors that will drive verdict on 21 months of Trumpism
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Supporters of former Sri Lanka PM protest against his sacking in Colombo, burn effigies of President Maithripala Sirisena
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
Vaikom Vijayalekshmi ties knot with Anoop
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Sradha Kapoor as Saina Nehwal: First look poster is out.
KERALA NEWS
Sabarimala protests: Arrests up to 2061, Kerala HC warns police
 Thiruvananthapuram, OCT 27: As the number of people arrested for allegedly being involved in violent
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Sabarimala row: Protests against SC verdict continue
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NATIONAL NEWS
Delhi pollution: Task forces conducts meetings on WhatsApp for urgent decisions
 New Delhi, Nov 12 (PTI) What happens when air pollution levels in the national capital are 'severe'
PM slams Rahul, Sonia for questioning note ban; need no certificate from those on bail
Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha attacks NDA ally Nitish Kumar amid reports of RLSP MLA joining JD(U)
Mining Baron Janardhana Reddy Remanded in Custody Till November 24 for 'Shielding' Ponzi Scam Accused Father-Son
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