Girne District Court passed a nine-month sentence on 27-year-old Melis Akçal on Monday, saying the 17- to 18-week-old foetus had been healthy and “not the result of adultery or rape”.
The tow's Assizes Court had been due to give its verdict on Thursday in the case of Ada Test Tube Baby, Women’s Health and Birth Centre owners Drs Mehmet Ali and Verda Tunçbilek, who are accused of illegal abortion and hiding the birth of a baby, and gynaecologist Fahri Karagözlü, anaesthetist Rasiha Serdaroğlu, midwife Ayşegül İşbilen and nurse Taner Okburan, who are additionally facing murder charges.
The six were brought to court amid tight security and their case was adjourned until Tuesday.
Miss Akçal appeared in court on Monday flanked by her father and headmistress mother, both of whom were taken to hospital suffering from shock after hearing the sentence.
Reading out the court's verdict, judge Mesut Mesutoğlu said Miss Akçal had fallen pregnant with her fiancé, but had decided to get rid of the baby because they “could not get along” and had searched for a place where “such illegal abortions” took place, undergoing a caesarian operation. The couple later had a “short-lived marriage”.
Underlining that the baby had had no health problems, Mr Mesutoğlu said Miss Akçal was a university graduate who had committed the crime deliberately and with awareness of its seriousness.
She had remained silent in the face of the investigation into the Ada clinic – until DNA tests revealed her to be the mother of one of the foetuses found buried in January last year – and given contradictory evidence at the Assizes Court, leading her to be declared a hostile witness.
However the judge said the court had considered her youth, clean record and the psychological impact of what she had been through, in passing a sentence far lower than the potential seven-year maximum.
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