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An Ankara prosecutor has presented his final sentencing opinion (“esas hakkında mütalaa”) to the court regarding the 2016 assassination of Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov, seeking aggravated life sentences for eight suspects in the case.

The prosecutor’s legal opinion was announced on the same day that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin held a meeting in Moscow on March 5.

Karlov was shot dead on Dec. 19, 2016 by off-duty police officer Mert Altıntaş in the Turkish capital Ankara while addressing people during a photography exhibition opening.

Turkish authorities have said that Altıntaş was linked to the Gülen network, which is referred to as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).

A total of 28 people are indicted in the case, including Fethullah Gülen. The indictment says the assassination of Karlov was “a provocative action against Turkish-Russian ties.” 

On March 5, prosecutor Cihat İpekçi demanded two aggravated life sentences each for five suspects over charges of “attempting to abolish the constitutional order” and “murdering deliberately.”

For another three suspects, the prosecutor demanded aggravated life sentence on charges of “attempting to abolish the constitutional order.”

The prosecutor also demanded up to 15 years in jail for another five suspects, while seeking another six suspects’ acquittal in the case due to lack of evidence.

He also sought separation of the files of nine defendants who are abroad, including Gülen.

The hearing was adjourned to March 31 for the suspects’ lawyers to prepare their defense.

Moscow: Those behind killing of Karlov must be found and punished

The Kremlin also commented on the Karlov assassination case on March 5, saying Russia wants to ensure that both masterminds and perpetrators in the murder are found and brought to justice.

“Indeed, we are following this case very closely, and we want to be sure that those who orchestrated and carried out the murder of the Russian ambassador to Turkey will be found and punished by law,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as telling reporters by RT news agency.

Asked about the Turkish prosecutor’s demand of acquittal for six defendants in the case, Peskov said while Turkey’s judicial proceedings “are none of our business,” it is crucial “that the murderers of our ambassador are punished.”