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banner Monday, 4 June, 2001, 15:05 GMT 16:05 UK
Leeds deaths trial delayed
Leeds and Galatasaray observe a minutes' silence for the dead fans
Leeds and Galatasaray observe a minutes' silence
A court in Istanbul has postponed the trial of 20 Turks accused of involvement in an attack which left two Leeds United fans dead.

Defence lawyers argued the evidence against the suspects was incomplete.

Fuat Akkoyunlu, lawyer for main defendant Ali Umit Demir, argued video evidence was insufficient to prove that his client was guilty of stabbing Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight.

The attack took place in April last year, on the eve of a Uefa Cup semi-final between Leeds and Galatasaray in Istanbul.

Akkoyunlu said English fans had attacked Demir's uncle Suleyman Aydin, another defendant in the case but that police had failed to take any action against them.

He claimed it would be wrong to claim that Turks were entirely responsible for the incident, while the English fans were innocent.

Sukru Alparslan, a lawyer acting for the families of the slain English fans, said he accepted that video evidence was insufficient to establish who had stabbed the fans.

More evidence

He said the pictures showed another defendant, Ozkan Balci, picking up a chair to use as a weapon.

The court postponed the hearing until 24 July to enable more evidence to be collected.

Prosecutors have demanded prison sentences of up to 30 years for Demir, Balci, Aydin and two other people accused of killing the Englishmen.

Fourteen other suspects accused of involvement in the fighting and one who is charged with concealing weapons from police face sentences of up to five years.

The court ruled that Demir should be held in custody until the trial's resumption. Other defendants remain free until the next hearing.

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