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Three jailed for life in Turkey for 2016 bomb that killed 36

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ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Three men have been jailed for life in Turkey for a 2016 car bombing that killed 36 people and wounded 344 in a crowded transport hub in Ankara, the state-run Anadolu agency reported on Wednesday.

The bomb was the second to hit the capital in the space of a month, and was one of a series of attacks nationwide that began in mid-2015, at the start of around 1-1/2 years of heightened security threats from the Islamic State militant group and the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militia.

The court accused the defendants of being members of the PKK, considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. TAK, an offshoot of the PKK, claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Anadolu said 55 people had been on trial as part of the same case, all but eight of them in absentia.

Mehmet Veysi Dolasan was handed 37 aggravated life sentences for killing 36 people and damaging the unity of the state.

Aggravated life sentences are subject to a harsher regime in prison, and are not eligible for parole or general amnesty.

Dolasan was also given more than 10,275 years in jail for the attempted murder of 342 people and transporting explosives. It was not clear why the number of victims differed slightly from the official toll of wounded.

Two others also received aggravated life sentences and additional jail time for transporting explosives and damaging the unity of the state, Anadolu said.

Six other defendants were handed varying jail terms short of life, while seven were acquitted. The cases of some other defendants were split off at the end of the trial.

(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Ece Toksabay and Kevin Liffey)

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