Five ISIL suspects escape from prison in Turkey’s Kocaeli
Fevzi Kızılkoyun – ANKARAFive suspected members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have escaped from prison in the Marmara province of Kocaeli despite intelligence warnings.
Suspects Gökhan Bulut, İrfan Yıldız, Raşit Karadağ, Serdar Sarıçam and Duran Çoban, who were detained during operations in 2015 targeting the Turkish wing of the jihadist group, all escaped the Kocaeli Open Prison on May 3, it was revealed.
Three of the men were subsequently apprehended, although reports did not indicate which of the ISIL convicts had been caught.
The suspects were arrested on “large-scale arms smuggling” charges but were acquitted of being members of ISIL.
The five, who were staying at a closed prison, applied to be transferred to a semi-open prison, after which they were transferred to the Kocaeli facility two weeks ago. Police intelligence units, however, warned authorities to take necessary precautions, stating that the ISIL-linked convicts would escape and attempt to cross into Syria when given permission to leave the prison.
Prison management later decided to transfer the convicts back to a closed jail, only for the five to escape on May 3.
Security units issued urgent notices to apprehend the fleeing convicts across the country, leading to the detainment of three of them. The search for the other two is continuing.
One suspect identified as Hasan Y. was also alleged to have aided their escape.
An investigation into the incident is ongoing.