Court sentences 14-year-old to 7 years for arson

A 14-year-old determined to be behind the wildfire in the southern province of Antalya's Manavgat district has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

The fire started in Manavgat on July 28, 2021, was extinguished on the 10th day. The Manavgat fire was recorded as the biggest forest fire in Türkiye.

It spread to the forests of the surrounding districts, and seven people lost their lives.

The court sentenced the 14-year-old, identified only by the initials M.AT., who was determined to have started the fire, to seven years in prison on charges of "deliberately burning forests" and "damaging property with probable intent."

The court also sentenced the perpetrator to a judicial fine of 120,000 Turkish Liras ($6,400).

The court ruled for the acquittal of another suspect, identified by the initials C.Y., who had been detained for four months on the grounds that he instigated the perpetrator.

At the first hearing held in December 2021, M.A.T. claimed that C.Y. called him while walking near the forest, and he threatened the perpetrator saying, "If you do not burn the forest, I will kill your sister and brother."

M.A.T. stated that he started the fire upon the threat.

However, the accused later changed his statement, noting that M.A.T. gave his name to the court as an instigator due to a previous disagreement between him and C.Y.

"I burned the forest on purpose without taking instruction from anyone. No one threatened me to burn the forest. I regret it much. When I saw the fire growing, I tried to put it out, but it didn't work," he stated.

Seven people lost their lives in the fire, while 60,000 hectares of land were reduced to ashes.

More than 2,000 houses, workplaces, warehouses and barns were...

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