Istanbul 2017 New Year nightclub shooting suspect asks for release

The suspect in a shooting attack that killed 39 and injured 79 people as they celebrated at an Istanbul nightclub on New Year’s Day 2017 has asked to be released from prison during the trial, secularist daily Cumhuriyet reported on Thursday.

Abdulkadir Maasharipov, an Uzbek national, is accused of carrying out the attack in Reina, a famous nightclub on the banks of the Bosporus that is frequented by Istanbul’s high society.

The Reina shooting is believed to be one of a series of attacks carried out in Turkey by the Islamic State (ISIS).

Maasharipov appeared in court with the 17 other jailed defendants and seven other defendants on bail out of the 58 suspects being tried in the case.

Speaking in Turkish, the suspected gunman asked the court to release him, Cumhuriyet reported.

Prosecutors have demanded that the court reject defendants appeals for release.

Maasharipov confessed to the attack after being arrested on January 17, 2017, but later repudiated his statements during a hearing of the trial last February.

Footage from the night shows a man the police say is Maasharipov carrying an assault rifle at the scene of the attack. Maasharipov denies it is him.

The suspect faces a prison sentence of up to 2,397 years for 39 counts of first degree murder and 79 counts of attempted murder.

Maasharipov’s legal wife, Zarina Nurullayeva, and Tene Traore, his second wife from a religious marriage, are also defendants in the case. Their lawyer said they could not attend the hearing because they had been apprehended by Turkey’s immigration department, who he said was attempting to deport them despite the ongoing trial.