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Turkish court sentences footballer to life over son’s murder

  • Sun Online Desk
  • 20th January, 2022 01:35:48 PM
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Turkish court sentences footballer to life over son’s murder

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Acourt in Turkey's northwestern province of Bursa issued a sentence of aggravated life imprisonment for Cevher Toktaş, a former Süper Lig football player, over his son's death in 2020. Toktaş was accused of strangling his 5-year-old son, who was hospitalized over a possible COVID-19 infection.

In the last hearing on Wednesday, which Toktaş attended via videolink from the prison where he was held, the defendant denied charges. The 35-year-old footballer said he surrendered himself to police after the death and admitted strangling him but it was “not true,” claiming he felt guilty for not taking his son to the hospital in time and wanted to “pay the price for his guilt,” by accepting the charge. His lawyers argued that there was no concrete evidence against Toktaş.

The panel of judges issued the verdict on charges of deliberate manslaughter of next of kin and cited that the defendant was mentally sound at the time of the incident. In such cases, defendants are often given reduced sentences or ordered to spend time in a psychiatric hospital if they are found to be suffering mental problems at the time of the incident. An aggravated life sentence means there would be no parole, and thus the convicted will spend the rest of his life in prison unless they are granted the presidential pardon.

Toktaş, who last played in an amateur team in Bursa, had taken his son to a hospital on April 23, 2020, after he suffered from a bout of high fever and cough. The boy was placed under quarantine on suspicion of COVID-19. Hours after the start of the quarantine, Toktaş had entered the hospital room and left to alert medical staff, according to investigators, that his son was not breathing. The child was taken to intensive care but died two hours later. Toktaş had turned himself in on May 4, 2020, confessing to police that he killed his son.

 

Source: Agency