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The law’s delays, the insolence of office

Murat Demirel: his case looks set to run
and run...and run

Dozens of former bankers are on trial in Turkey for allegedly stealing $17 billion from the 20 banks that have been seized by the government since the end of the 1990s. None of the trials has ended, while some of the cases have entered their third year. If Murat Demirel's case is typical, it seems they might go on for ever.

Demirel, a scion of one of Turkey's most powerful political families, was arrested soon after Egebank, a small bank he owned, was seized in December 1999. The 34-year-old businessman is the nephew of Suleyman Demirel, who has served Turkey seven times as prime minister and once as president.

After the seizure Murat Demirel was promptly arrested and spent almost two years in custody, while he was yanked from city to city and jail to jail until he could find a court competent to try his case. At last he found himself before the Second Severe Punishment Court in Istanbul and a few days short of the second anniversary of his incarceration was released from prison.

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