A Turkish court on Monday sentenced Abdulkadir Masharipov, a citizen of Uzbekistan, to 40 life sentences without the possibility of parole plus an additional 1,338 years for a deadly 2017 attack on a night club. After Masharipov’s attack that left 39 dead, the Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack as an act of revenge for Turkey’s involvement in Syria.
Less than two hours into New Year’s Day 2017, Masharipov walked into the Reina night club in Istanbul dressed in a Santa Claus costume. He then reportedly began open firing into the crowded night club and threw flash grenades to give him more time to reload. The aftermath of the attack left 39 dead and 79 wounded. The murdered victims included citizens of Belgium, France, India, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.
Masharipov initially escaped after the shooting, setting off a nationwide manhunt that lasted 16 days. He was captured on January 17 in Istanbul. He initially confessed to the killing but later recanted, arguing that the confession was obtained under “torture and pressure.” He also argued in his defense that the evidence was insufficient.
Ilyas Mamasaripov was accused of aiding in the attack. He was sentenced to over 1,400 years for his role in the attack. More than 50 others were on trial in connection to the attack on the Reina night club. Eleven were acquitted, and the other 47 received varying sentences.
The Reina nightclub attack is one of many attacks Turkey has faced in its battle with extremism over the past five years. Since 2015, Kurdish and IS militants have killed more than 300 in terrorist attacks in Turkey.