Turkish court sentences elevator company officials to prison over fatal accident in state dorm

A Turkish court has handed prison sentences to four people associated with the elevator maintenance company for "causing death by conscious negligence" in the elevator accident that killed university student Zeren Erteş in a state-run dormitory. 

Duvar English

The Aydın Second High Criminal Court on July 10 handed prison sentences to four of the five defendants involved in the case of the elevator accident that resulted in the death of 22-year-old university student Zeren Ertaş at the state-run dormitory.

Defendant Mustafa B., the elevator maintenance company official, received a prison sentence of five years, six months, and 20 days, for "causing death by negligence." He was also banned from the profession for two years.

Elevator installation company owner Halil T. and mechanical engineers Uğur İ. and Ramazan A. were sentenced to two years and 11 months for "causing death by conscious negligence."

The court acquitted company employee Nuri M. due to the absence of intent or negligence.

During the hearing where the deceased Zeren Ertaş's relatives were present, the prosecutor requested the release of Halil T., Ramazan A., and Uğur İ. upon sentencing given the current evidence and the time the defendants had already spent in detention.

However, the prosecutor recommended that Mustafa B. remain in custody, citing the expert report which indicated that the failure to properly maintain and repair the elevator was the primary cause of the accident.

In their defense, the defendants rejected the prosecutor's claims and requested acquittal.

The incident at the state-run university dormitories of the Student Loans and Dormitories Institution (KYK) in the Efeler district of the western Aydın province occurred on October 25, 2023.

The dormitory elevator fell several floors, resulting in the death of Ertaş, a student at Adnan Menderes University's Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences. 

Students stated that the elevator was often defunct, drawing attention to the poor conditions at Turkey’s state-run dormitories.

The tragic event incited a series of protests at the many KYK dormitories across the country, with students voicing similar grievances and demanding better living conditions.