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Kurd sentenced for Turkey bombing

A woman is carried after an explosion on a minibus in Turkey, July 2005
Thirteen people were injured in the bomb attack

A Turkish court has sentenced a Kurdish man to life in prison for a 2005 attack that left five people dead, including a British and an Irish tourist.

The bombing destroyed a minibus in the Aegean resort of Kusadasi. The three other victims were Turks.

The court gave the suspect, Mehmet Sirac Keskin, six life sentences in total, the Anatolia news agency said.

Keskin denied planting the bomb, but admitted belonging to the outlawed Kurdish rebel group PKK.

The defendant chanted PKK slogans in court as the verdict was read, while families of the victims wept, Anatolia reported.

It said Keskin had been given a life sentence for each of the five victims, and an additional one for "separatist" activities.

The PKK, which has been fighting for 25 years, had previously denied involvement in the bombing.

Some 40,000 people have died since the PKK launched its armed campaign in the mainly Kurdish south-east. It is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the EU and the US.

The bomb struck as the minibus was driving holidaymakers to the beach. Helyn Bennett, 21, from Spennymoor in County Durham, was killed.

Her fiance and four members of her family were among the 13 injured, and were later awarded more than £1m in compensation by the Turkish authorities.

Miss Bennett's mother Sharon Holden has campaigned for a change to the British system which means only the victims of terror attacks within the UK are entitled to compensation from the British government.



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