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Turkish teen accused of causing fatal car crash attempted suicide in US detention: report

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A 17-year-old Turkish national accused of causing a fatal car accident in İstanbul and fleeing to the US reportedly attempted suicide while in a Connecticut juvenile detention center, his lawyer said during a pre-trial conference on Thursday, according to a special report by the Medyaradar news website.

Turkish novelist and poet Eylem Tok and her son, T.C., were arrested last week pursuant to an extradition request from Turkey as they were about to tour an expensive private school in Boston.

Their arrests were announced on X by Turkish Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç, who said they were “captured in the United States in line with our extradition request.”

Chief Magistrate Judge Donald Cabell of the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts on Thursday ruled that T.C. will remain in custody as the extradition process continues. The judge noted that he needed more time to review the extensive documents presented by both the defense and the prosecution before deciding on a bail request.

Cabell’s decision came at a status conference, a pre-trial meeting where prosecution and defense attorneys exchange evidence and may discuss plea bargains, often involving a judge, depending on the case type.

During the status conference at the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston, lawyers for T.C. argued that conditions at the detention center were unsuitable, claiming that he was held in solitary confinement after a suicide attempt, Medyaradar reported. They requested house arrest or transfer to a more appropriate facility in Massachusetts. The US Attorney opposed these requests, citing a flight risk.

T.C. is accused of driving without a license in İstanbul on March 1, resulting in a crash that killed 29-year-old Oğuz Murat Aci and injured four others. Following the accident, T.C. and his mother flew to Egypt and then to the United States. Turkish authorities have requested their extradition.

The defense team emphasized T.C.’s clean record and US citizenship, arguing that he posed no flight risk and should be released on bail. They also highlighted the harsh conditions at the juvenile facility, noting that T.C. had difficulty accessing necessary medication and was experiencing severe psychological stress.

US Attorney Kristin Kearney countered that the detention center provided adequate facilities, including educational and mental health support, and argued that the teenager’s current situation was a shock due to his previous privileged lifestyle in Turkey. Kearney also pointed out that T.C. and his mother fled with a large amount of money shortly after the accident, demonstrating a high risk of further flight.

During the hour-long meeting, Judge Cabell said he was not ready to make a decision at that stage and needed to review the substantial information provided and may need to gather more. He ruled that T.C. would remain in custody and did not set a new meeting date.

T.C.’s mother, Eylem Tok, is also facing extradition proceedings. Requests for both her and her son are being processed separately, with Tok’s next status conference scheduled for June 27.

Turkey’s Justice Ministry has sent the necessary documents for the extradition to US authorities. Under a 1980 treaty between the two countries, the US is not obligated to extradite its citizens, but the court’s final decision remains pending.

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