Report: Turks sentenced for alcohol deaths

AP News
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Posted: Nov 11, 2011 2:38 PM
Report: Turks sentenced for alcohol deaths

Two Turkish brothers were sentenced Friday to more than 61 years in prison each for selling bootleg alcohol that led to the deaths of three German students, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported.

The German students at a college in Luebeck, Germany _ Rafael Neca, Jean Piere Follkers and Jan Lange _ drank the poisonous liquor while on a class trip to the Turkish Mediterranean resort of Kemer in 2009. Neca died in Turkey, while Follkers and Lange suffered irreversible brain damage and died in Germany.

The brothers were partners in a company that allegedly sold the alcohol to the hotel where the students were staying.

The court in the nearby city of Antalya convicted Cengiz Emmez and Halil Ibrahim Emmez, of manslaughter, of causing injury and of contravening Turkey's contraband laws, Anatolia said. It then sentenced each of them to 61 years and eight months in prison.

Two other defendants _ a hotel manager and another employee _ were convicted of negligence and sentenced to five years in prison each. Eight other people were acquitted.

All four have maintained their innocence and were expected to appeal their convictions.

This summer, Turkish authorities raided several workshops believed to be producing bootleg liquor and detained dozens of people. The bootleg products contained methyl alcohol, often used to illegally produce cheap liquor to avoid government controls and high taxes.

The raids came after five Russians who traveled to Turkey to train to be tour guides died after drinking bootleg alcohol during a yacht tour in the Aegean Sea.