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Jail for Kurdish minibus bomber

Published 30/12/2009

A Kurdish separatist has been convicted of blowing up a minibus that killed five people — including a British and an Irish tourist — in 2005.

Mehmet Sirac Keskin has been on trial in Turkey since 2006 for the bombing in the Aegean resort town of Kusadasi.

Helen Bennett (23), of Spennymoor, Co Durham, and Tara Whelan (17) of Kilmeaden, Co Waterford, and three Turks were killed in the blast.

The court sentenced Keskin to life on charges of membership of the outlawed Kurdish rebel group, the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party).

It handed down a further sentence of 161 years in prison for the deaths of the five victims, for wounding 10 other passengers and possessing explosives.

Keskin acknowledged during his trial membership being a member of the PKK but denied having planted the bomb.

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