Turkey judge drops case against Sivas hotel fire suspects

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Turkey judge drops case against Sivas hotel fire suspects

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Protesters clashed with police on the streets of Ankara after the case against five people accused of murdering 37 writers and liberals was dropped.

Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse the crowd.

The accused men were released after a court ruled the statute of limitations had run out on the 1993 hotel fire.

So far, no one has been prosecuted and some, like the leader of the opposition Republican Party Kemal Kilicdaroglu, are blaming Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government and AK Party for failing to find the culprits.

“It’s a disgrace that the perpetrators couldn’t be caught and the case had to be dropped due to a statute of limitations. It is not possible to accept such a situation. This ruling does not show a free Turkey – a country that gives utmost importance to human rights,” Kilicdaroglu said.

More than sixty people were injured in the blaze at the Madimak hotel in Sivas. They had been attending a conference with liberal author Aziz Nesin, who had translated Salman Rushdie’s controversial novel ‘The Satanic Verses’.

Thirty-seven died when a mob outside set the building on fire.

Despite the judge’s ruling, lawyers for relatives of the victims say they will appeal the decision and will not give up the fight for justice.