No Arrested Defendants Remain in Dorm Fire Case

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What happened?

On November 29, 2016, a fire broke out at Özel Aladağ Tahsil Çağındaki Talebelere Yardım Derneği Ortaöğretim Kız Öğrenci Yurdu, a girl student dorm, in the evening hours in the province of Adana.

11 children namely and one dorm staff namely, Sare Betül Genç, Fatma Canatan, Semanur Aydoğdu, Gamze Bagir, Bahtınur Baş, Nurgül Pertlek, Tuğba Aydoğdu, Sümeyye Yetim, Cennet Karataş, Sevim Köylü, İlknur Maden, Zeliha Avcı, lost their lives in the fire. 22 students who jumped off the window and were affected by the smoke were taken into hospitals.

A gag order was issued on the incident towards morning.

An investigation was launched by Kozan Public Chief Prosecutor's Office into the reasons causing the fire. Those responsible for the breakout of fire were charged with "causing death by negligence". Detention order was issued for 14 people including the dorm director C.G.

On December 4, 2016, dorm director Cumali Genç, director of Aladağ Aid Association for Course Students and Pupils İsmail Uğur and four administrators of the dorm Ramazan Keleş, Ramazan Dede, Mustafa Öztaş, Mahir Kılınç were arrested.

On January 22, 2016, Keleş, Dede, Öztaş and Kılınç were released after their attorneys challenged the decision on the grounds that the expert report said that the respective administrators were only secondary suspects.

On February 6, 2017, Adana Bar Association Union President Attorney Veli Küçük announced that the four association administrators who were first arrested and later released, had been arrested again.

On May 30, 2017, the first hearing in the trial was held. There were seven suspects in detention on remand.

After the release of the suspect Ramazan Dede, there are six suspects in detention on remand.

Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) MP Hüda Kaya who was a member of the Parliamentary Committee to Investigate the Dorm Fire, talking to bianet, had said that there was an attempt to protect those officially accountable for the incident by shifting the blame on the victims.

Education Union Adana Region President Ahmet Karagöz underlined that the children who lost their lives in the dorm fire was not at an eligible age to stay at that dorm and that police had prevented them from obtaining information when they went to the incident scene for further examination.

Defendants

Dormitory manager Cumali Genç and Aladağ Course and School Students Aid Foundation President İsmail Uğur are jailed defendants in the case.

One of the foundation's administrative board members, Ramazan Dede, had been released due to health problems. Foundation administrators Ramazan Keleş, Mahir Kılıç, Mustafa Öztaş and dormitory worker Mahmut Deniz were also released by interlocutory decision.

The civil servants on pre-trial release consist of then Aladağ District National Education Director Mehmet Aktaş and Aladağ District National Education Branch Head Davut Gökçeli, officials who inspected the dormitory and prepared reports, namely Aladağ District National Education Branch Head Ramazan Arı and Cihan Ünal, Bayram Aydın and Mehmet İpek and Zeki Yılmaz.

The defendants are charged with "manslaughter and involuntary injury" and facing 2 to 15 years jail time.

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