Two arrested suspects released in Istanbul Sultanahmet suicide bombing case
ISTANBULAn Istanbul court on Dec. 1 ordered the release of two suspects who were arrested over a deadly suicide bomb attack in Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet neighborhood earlier this year, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
The Istanbul 14th Court of Serious Crimes in the third hearing heard seven arrested defendants, including Syrian and Iraqi citizens, in the case of the suicide bomb attack in in the vicinity of the Hippodrome on Jan. 12 which killed 12 people, mostly German tourists, and wounded another 16.
During the hearing, an Iraqi witness, Vakit Abdulkerim, reportedly said he was a friend of defendant Ayad Muneer Soud and that they escaped from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to Turkey. According to Abdulkerim, Soud was involved in the Hawala money transfer system that was primarily used by immigrants due to its low cost. Abdulkerim also added that he did not know whether Soud had links with the jihadist group or sent money to other defendants.
Another Syrian witness, Taleb Ahmad also said he had known Ayad for 1.5 years, adding that he did not have a connection with the jihadist group.
Meanwhile, Soud’s wife, Mariam Aiman Abdulsatar, also denied her husband’s alleged links with ISIL. She also added that the Iraqi government was only able to pay the wages of public officers using the Hawala system due to the ISIL threat.
The lawyer for Soud and another defendant, Omar Hallum Raheem, said the two defendants possessed money transfer records and that they did not help ISIL.
The court later ordered the release of Soud and Raheem but imposed a travel ban. The other five arrested suspects will remain under arrest pending trial.
The indictment seeks aggravated life sentences for a total of 26 suspects on charges of attempting to remove the constitutional order of the state by force and violence.
Nabil Fadli, a Saudi-born Syrian national, conducted the suicide attack against a German tour group on the morning of Jan. 12, killing 12 and wounding another 16.