Court releases five defendants in Istanbul Sultanahmet bombing case
ISTANBUL – Doğan News AgencyAn Istanbul court on July 15 ordered the release of five defendants in the first hearing over the case of a deadly suicide bomb attack in Istanbul’s touristic Sultanahmet neighborhood in January.
The Istanbul 14th Court of Serious Crimes ordered the release of Mustafa Sraiwel, Muhannad Hendawi, İbrahim El İbrahim, Muhammed Izghib and Muhammet İsa based on the classification and nature of the offence, the available evidence, the possibility of changing the nature of the offence and the timeframe of their arrest.
The court also imposed a travel ban on the five defendants.
In addition, the court ordered the continuation of the arrest of the other 13 defendants, as all denied the accusations.
The hearing was postponed to Sept. 5.
Prosecutors had previously demanded jail terms ranging from 7.5 years to aggravated life sentences for a total of 26 suspects over the case.
Nabil Fadli, a Saudi-born Syrian national and member of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), conducted the suicide attack against a German tour group on the morning of Jan. 12 in the vicinity of the Hippodrome in Sultanahmet, killing 12 German tourists and wounding another 16.
It was the fourth attack staged by the jihadist group in the country after deadly bombings in Diyarbakır, Suruç and Ankara in 2015.
According to the probe, the order for the attack was given by ISIL “emir” Omar-Ebu Abid, who is currently in Iraq. The group’s border representatives, working under the code names “Mahir Ali Alakkal,” “Azzo Ali Alakkal” and “Omran,” reportedly gave the order for Fadli’s entrance to Turkey with the explosives a month before the attack.