Istanbul nightclub attack trial gets underway

ISTANBUL -The man accused of killing 39 people in a New Year's Eve gun attack on an Istanbul nightclub went on trial Monday.

Abdulkadir Masharipov is among 57 defendants being tried in connection with the attack on the Reina nightclub on the banks of the Bosphorus less than a year ago.

He is said to have killed a security guard before opening fire on revelers with an AK-47 assault rifle and throwing grenades in the early hours of Jan. 1. The attack was later claimed by Daesh.

In the opening hearing at Istanbul's Silivri prison complex, Judge Abdurrahman Orkun Dag warned Masharipov against showing off during the trial.

Masharipov, an Uzbek national, complained that he had yet to meet his lawyer and declined to give his defense until he did.

He faces 40 aggravated life sentences on charges of murder, membership of an armed terrorist organization, weapons possession and attempting to destroy constitutional order.

All but six of the defendants, who include Masharipov's wife Zarina Nurullayeva, are being held in custody.

Moved addresses

In her testimony to the court, Nurullayeva said she married Masharipov in 2012. Later he started to lean towards radical organizations, she said, adding that he spoke of visiting Syria and becoming a martyr.

She said she saw her husband on Dec. 31 and the following day she was moved to a different address by people who said they had been sent by Masharipov and her son was taken away.

I still do not know where he is, she said. Masharipov also said he did not know who had taken the boy.

Asked about Masharipov's martyrdom video, which was seized by police, Nurullayeva said she recorded the footage but did not understand the Arabic word her husband used to refer to a suicide bombing.She was arrested on Jan. 7. By that time, Nurullayeva said she had moved addresses a further two times.

Masharipov, aged 34 at the time of the attack, was arrested in the residential Istanbul neighborhood of Esenyurt after a 17-day manhunt.

He told investigators he had received orders for the attack from Raqqah, which served as Daesh's de facto capital in Syria at the time.

The fatalities included 27 foreigners and 79 people were wounded.

Source: Anadolu Agency