Alleged killer of Russian jet pilot released from prison in Turkey
İZMİRAlparslan Çelik, the alleged killer of a Turkey-downed Russian Su-24 jet pilot, was released from prison in the western province of İzmir on June 27 with a ban on leaving the country. The court ruled for the release of seven suspects, including Çelik.
The police took strict security measures in the public hearing held on June 27 and the suspects were brought to the courtroom wearing bulletproof vests. The suspects’ lawyer, Taşkın Kangal, requested the testimonies be prevented from being published in the media citing national security, which was accepted by court.
Çelik was caught in a restaurant on March 31 in the Karabağlar district of İzmir, after an unidentified person notified the police about people with guns in the restaurant. Çelik and 16 others were detained and guns were found on them. The court then ruled for the arrest of Çelik on April 3 for violating a gun law following his detainment.
Çelik, İsmail Demir, Mustafa Develi, Asil Tırnova, Fatih Arnas, Bayram Karaarslan and Murat Gezer were arrested, two suspects were released on probation and eight suspects were released pending trial. Sentences of up to nine years in prison were sought for the 17 suspects.
The İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office’s terror and organizational crimes bureau had recently ruled for a nonsuit for Çelik over “grievous provocation in the killing of the Russian pilot after evaluating reports of his testimony, interviews in the media and video footage,” but reversed its decision on June 24, citing new evidence on the incident.
Two Turkish F-16s shot down a Russian-made SU-24 jet on Nov. 24, 2015, near the Syrian border after it allegedly violated Turkish airspace.