Istanbul NYE mass shooting attack suspect denies charges

Istanbul NYE mass shooting attack suspect denies charges
2 min read
18 February, 2019
An Uzbek national suspected of killing 39 people has walked back on previous statements and denied being the attacker.
The attack killed 39 people from all over the world [Anadolu]
The main suspect in an attack at an Istanbul nightclub in 2017 has on Monday rejected the charges against him.

Abdulkadir Masharipov, an Uzbek national, denied killing 39 people and wounding dozens more in the earlier hours of New Year's Day 2017.

Revellers had gathered at the exclusive Reina nightclub on the banks of the Bosphorous to celebrate. The attacker opened fire with an automatic rifle, throwing stun grenades to allow himself to reload and shoot the wounded on the ground.

Masharipov was arrested more than two weeks after the attack. Media reports at the time stated he admitted to committing the massacre, which was claimed by the Islamic State group.

He reportedly said the attack was a retaliation for Turkish military involvement in Syria, but that he had also wanted to kill Christians celebrating New Year's Eve.

He denied his previous statements in court on Monday, instead disputing the evidence held against him and denying he was the person photographed holding an assault rifle at the club, Turkey's state news agency Anadolu reported.

Masharipov blamed the media for linking him to the attack, and said he hid from police after he saw his photo and name distributed in the media because he did not have identification papers.

He claimed to be have travelled to Turkey to work because his wife was sick and they lacked funds.

The alleged attacker's denials in court on Monday contrast with an appearance in court two months after the attack, when Masharipov
asked for the death sentence.

The deadly Reina shooting was one of a string of attacks, some believed to be carried out by the Islamic State group, others by the PKK and other Kurdish militants, in Turkey between 2014 and 2017.