Last updated: 4 June, 2012

Israeli flotilla raid trial to open in Turkish court in November

A Turkish court is to hold on November 6 the first hearing of a trial against four Israeli commanders held responsible for a deadly flotilla raid in 2010, Anatolia news agency reported Monday.

The date was announced by the Istanbul court two weeks after it unanimously approved an indictment by Turkish prosecutors, who want life sentences for the Israelis for their alleged role in the deadly maritime assault, the agency said.

Israeli commandos boarded the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, the largest ship in a flotilla aimed at breaking Israel’s Gaza blockade, on May 31, 2010, leaving nine Turkish activists dead.

The raid triggered a crisis between Israel and Turkey, once regional allies, and resulted in a dramatic downgrade in diplomatic relations and expelling of the Israeli ambassador from Turkey. Military ties were also cut.

The 144-page indictment called for nine life sentences to be given to each of the four commanders, including Israel’s former chief of the general staff Gabi Ashkenazi.

The trial is expected to be held in the absence of the accused, Israel having ruled out any prosecution of those who took part in the attack.