Turks Suspected of Leeds Fans Murder Indicted

Published April 14th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Four Turkish men have been indicted for the murder of two Leeds United fans last week on the eve of their team's UEFA Cup clash with Galatasaray, a prosecutor who prepared the charge sheet said Friday. 

"I have completed the indictment and launched a lawsuit," Prosecutor Osman Ikizoglu told AFP. 

He said the four suspects could face between 24 to 30 years in prison for the murder of Kevin Speight and Christopher Loftus in Istanbul. 

But since it was not clear which of the four delivered the fatal blow, the court would reduce the sentences by up to a half under the Turkish penal code, Ikizoglu said. 

They were identified as Ali Demir, Ozkan balci, Suleyman Gokhan Guven and Suleyman Aydin, who was briefly hospitalized after the brawl in which the British fans were killed. 

The prosecutor added that four other suspects were indicted on the lesser charges of assault, and nine others with taking part in the brawl. 

Another man faces charges for "hiding evidence", a crime punishable by two to five years in prison, Ikizoglu said. 

He said that a date had not yet been set for the trial, and added that the hearings would likely start in a months' time. 

Speight, 40, and Loftus, 36, were stabbed to death on April 5 in a fight between Turkish and British supporters in Istanbul a day before the UEFA Cup semi-final first leg, which Galatasaray won 2-0. 

A post-mortem examination carried out when the bodies were returned to Leeds found that both men had suffered multiple stab wounds. 

The murder threw a shadow over security issues at the return match scheduled for April 20 at Leeds' home ground, Elland Road. 

UEFA was due to announce its decision Friday on a Leeds United's request for a ban on Galatasaray supporters attending the second leg and a Galatasaray demand for the game to be played at a neutral venue for fear of retaliatory attacks on fans -- ISTANBUL (AFP)-- Photo AFP Archive. 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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