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Cyprus

Three jailed in north for performing abortions

Two doctors and a nurse were jailed in the north on Tuesday over illegal abortions that took place in 2015.

Fahri Karagözlü, the doctor who performed the abortions, was sentenced to five years in prison, anaesthetist Rasiha Serdaroğlu got four, and nurse and midwife Ayşegül İşbilen was jailed for two years.

Owners of the private hospital where the abortions took place, Mehmet Ali Tunçbilek and Verda Tunçbilek were acquitted together with nurse Taner Okburan.

The trial followed the discovery in February last year of six foetuses and an infant buried around Catalkoy.

The abortions took place in 2015.

It is forbidden in the north to abort a foetus older than 10 weeks unless the pregnancy is threatening the health of the mother.

All defendants avoided the penalty for a murder charge after the court ruled that the 34-week old infant was born dead.

The two doctors and the nurse were found guilty for taking part in two illegal abortions, one of a five-month-old foetus and the other of a 17-week foetus.

Following the verdicts, prosecutor Erdinc Akyener said he would appeal the decision within 14 days.

The decision sparked an outcry in the Turkish Cypriot community over the inconsistency of the verdicts.

Social media was rocked with reactions and major media outlets criticised the decision, saying it disturbed the conscience of the community.

The case, which lasted more than a year, saw one of the mothers of the foetuses, Meliz Akçan, being found guilty of having an illegal abortion and sentenced to nine months in prison a fortnight ago.



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