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Turkey Cops Sentence Upheld

January 20, 2000

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) _ An appeals court on Thursday upheld 7 1/2-year prison terms against five police officers convicted of beating a reporter to death, the Anatolia news agency reported.

The decision ends almost two years of trials and appeals in Turkey. The family of slain reporter Metin Goktepe had hoped for stiffer punishments and promised to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

``This job is not over for us,″ his mother, Fadime Goktepe, was quoted as telling Anatolia.

The case was seen as a test of Turkey’s pledge to crack down against police abuses. International rights groups say Turkey is reluctant to bring police to justice and that officers remain in positions where they continue to abuse people.

The five officers were first convicted in 1998 for the murder. Six others were acquitted. The appeals court ruled Thursday that one of the acquitted officers should be tried on charges of misuse of power.

Goktepe’s body was found in a park on Jan. 9, 1996, a day after he was detained. Witnesses said police kicked and punched Goktepe for hours. Goktepe, 27, was working for the leftist newspaper Evrensel.