Washington (CNN) Special counsel Robert Mueller has charged former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn with “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI regarding conversations with Russia’s ambassador.
The US authorities announced on Tuesday (August 29th) that three new security agents of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have been accused of violence in Washington on the sidelines of a recent visit by the latter to the United States.
Nineteen suspects, including 15 Turkish security guards and bodyguards, are believed to have assaulted peaceful Kurdish demonstrators in the federal capital on 16 May. The violence took place in front of the residence of the Turkish ambassador, where the strong man of Ankara went after his meeting at the White House with his American counterpart, Donald Trump. The fight resulted in a report of 12 wounded, including a policeman.
Of the 19 accused, only two were arrested: Sinan Narin, a resident of Virginia, and Eyup Yildirim, residing in the state of New Jersey, are being prosecuted for assault and will be appearing in September. The other suspects are wanted.
The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has completed its investigation into a former chief civil inspector who allegedly prevented the detection of public officials involved in the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.
The indictment against Mehmet Ali Özkılınç demands up to 15 years in jail on charges of “intentionally helping an armed terrorist group without being a member,” citing the “Fetullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ)/ Parallel State Structure (PDY).”
The document claims that Özkılınç “acted with the intention of preventing the detection of public officials who contributed to killing Hrant Dink by suspects who are FETÖ/PDY members and executives.”
The indictment – in which Dink’s family members including Dink’s wife Rakel Dink, brother Hasrof Dink, son Arat Dink and daughters Delal and Sera Dink are named as complainants – said Özkılınç was responsible for organizing the preliminary examination and investigation reports that were prepared to detect public officials involved in the murder.
The document touched on the findings that Özkılınç along with Şükrü Yıldız, another former chief civil inspector and a suspect in the main Dink case, did not use the report containing information that “Hrant Dink was going to be killed by Yasin Hayal” in 13 separate reports that were jointly prepared. It also claimed that Özkılınç acted in line with the “FETÖ/PDY” in all reports to which he contributed and directly prepared.
Prosecutors have also demanded that the indictment be merged with the main Dink case, which is being overseen by the Istanbul 14th Heavy Penal Court.
Dink, the former editor-in-chief of weekly Agos, was shot dead outside his office in Istanbul’s Şişli district on Jan. 19, 2007, by 17-year-old Ogün Samast, who had traveled to Istanbul from the Black Sea province of Trabzon before the murder.
Relatives and followers of the case have claimed government officials, police, military personnel and National Intelligence Agency (MİT) members played a role in Dink’s murder by neglecting their duty to protect the late journalist.
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
A U.S. citizen who died after an altercation with police at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport in 2013 has been seen gasping for air as police officers forcibly held her to the ground in surveillance camera footage of the incident.
Tracey Lynn Brown, 48, arrived in April 2013 at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport from the Uzbek capital Tashkent to transfer to a Chicago-bound Turkish Airlines plane and waited for 13 hours in the international arrivals terminal.
According to camera footage, she entered a room belonging to the passport check bureau and had a quarrel with police officers before being removed from the room.
In their previous testimonies, the police officers had said Brown constantly asked about her daughter and was aggressive, refusing to make contact.
About six minutes later, Brown was seen again storming the room. According to the police officers’ claims, she scattered computers and documents inside.
Brown later wounded one of the police officers with a pair of scissors, according to the indictment. She was handcuffed and then taken to a preview and transfer room, the video showed.
Police officers handcuffed Brown to a chair but she was able to release herself. In response, seven police officers forced Brown to the ground face down and handcuffed her from behind. They were seen putting pressure on Brown’s back, feet and hands with their knees for about 17 minutes.
The police officers also called a doctor in the airport identified as Mesut Ö., but he was not seen making any contact with Brown. According to the indictment and the report, he ordered the medical team to inject Brown with anodyne. Mesut Ö. and the medical team then left the room about four minutes later, however they came back later when a police officer realized that Brown did not have pulse. Mesut Ö. was seen performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on Brown for about seven minutes. She was later transferred to a hospital.
Brown was transferred to another hospital on the same day and spent ten days in the intensive care unit at another hospital, where she died on April 18, 2013.
The three reports requested by the Bakırköy Public Prosecutor’s Office concluded there was a casual relation between the actions of the police officers and Brown’s death.
“The cause of death was the pressure on her chest and neck area for an extended amount of time,” the report stated, adding that Brown was unconscious for 13 days.
The first two reports meanwhile did not mention any accusations against Mesut Ö., but in the most recent report issued in 2014, he was impeached for not having contact with the patient or treating her firsthand, which does not comply with medical rules.
Following the investigation, the Bakırköy Public Prosecutor’s Office filed a lawsuit against 12 police officers and Mesut Ö. on the grounds of death by excessive force and demanded imprisonment from 12 years to 16 for the police officers and from two years to six years for the doctor.
Meanwhile, the police officers defended during both their investigation and trial testimonies that they had been within their right to use force and within their legal boundaries, denying the accusations. They added Brown had suddenly entered the room and showed aggressive behavior. They also said Brown had scissors in her hand during the second altercation and attacked randomly, wounding one police officer in his hand.
The next trial of the incident is scheduled to be held in October.
BANGKOK (AFP) – Thai authorities on Saturday detained and charged a 28-year-old Turkish man over a bomb attack in Bangkok last week that killed 20 people and wounded scores more.
It is the first arrest in connection with the August 17 bombing at the Erawan shrine in the capital’s bustling downtown district, which killed mostly Asian visitors, in Thailand’s worst single mass-casualty attack.
Around 100 police and military officers – including at least a dozen bomb disposal specialists – gathered outside an apartment block in Nong Chok district on the eastern outskirts of Bangkok where the man was arrested Saturday in possession of bomb-making equipment and multiple passports.
“We believe that the suspect was involved with the bombing” at the shrine, national police spokesman Prawut Thavornsiri said on a live televised broadcast on Saturday evening.
He also said that the man was involved with a blast the day after the shrine bombing near a popular tourist pier which sent people scurrying but caused no injuries.
The 28-year-old has been charged with the “illegal possession of bomb-making materials such as ball bearings” and “pipes to use as a bomb container”, Prawut said.
Colonel Banphot Phunphien, spokesman of Thailand’s Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC), told AFP the man was a “Turkish national”.
For days Thai police have been searching for a prime suspect, described as a foreign man, who was captured on security footage wearing a yellow t-shirt and leaving a bag at the shrine moments before the blast on security cameras.
But authorities have not yet linked the suspect now detained in military custody with the man seen on this video footage.
“We found dozens of passports inside his room, we have to check which nationalities they belong to,” he said on the televised broadcast.
In earlier comments on Thai broadcaster Channel 3, Mr Prawut said the “clothes and bomb-making materials” found in the accused’s room were linked to both recent blasts.
“The ball bearing is the same size” as those found at the two blast sites, he said.
– Multiple theories –
The attack on the Hindu shrine in Bangkok last week has left the vibrant city rattled and dealt a fresh blow to the kingdom’s reputation as a welcoming and safe travel destination.
The majority of those killed were ethnic Chinese worshippers from across Asia, who flocked to the shrine in the belief that prayers there bring good fortune.
Investigators have said the attack was clearly aimed at damaging the tourism industry but insist that Chinese tourists – who visit Thailand in larger numbers than any other nationality – were not singled out.
Earlier this week Thai police said they were not ready to exclude any possibility about who was behind the attack.
But speculation had grown over China’s ethnic Uighur Muslim minority – or their co-religious sympathisers – being behind the attack, motivated by Thailand’s forced repatriation of more than 100 Uighur refugees last month to an uncertain fate in China.
Bangkok’s consulate in Istanbul was stormed by angry protesters after the forced repatriation.
On Friday police said three Uighur Muslims, among dozens detained in the kingdom for illegal entry last year, had been questioned in eastern Sa Kaeo province, bordering Cambodia, over the bombing but provided no further details.
Earlier this week regional security analyst Anthony Davis from IHS-Jane’s said a potential perpetrator could be people from or affilated to the extreme right-wing Pan-Turkic movement known as the Grey Wolves, who have latched onto the Uighur cause in recent years.
In comments during a discussion on the blast at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT) Davis said the group had close links with Turkish organised crime, who are known to have a presence in Bangkok, and were at the forefront of the attack on the Thai consulate in Istanbul.
His remarks were widely carried in the Thai press but police refused to state whether they believed the perpetrators had a Turkish connection.
Other potential perpetrators named by the police and experts have included international jihadists, members of Thailand’s southern Malay-Muslim insurgency, militants on both sides of Thailand’s festering political divide or even someone with a personal grudge.
The charge relates to IS’s status as a “proscribed terrorist organisation”, meaning supporting it is banned in Britain.
Charged alongside the Muslim campaigner is Mohammed Mizanur Rahman.
A statement from Crown Prosecution Service said the charges relate to the two men’s activities between 29 June 2014 and 6 March this year.
Choudary, 48, of Hampton Road, Ilford in east London, was due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court at 2pm on Wednesday.
Sue Hemming, Head of Special Crime and Counter Terrorism at the CPS, said: “Following an investigation by the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command, we have today authorised charges against Anjem Choudary and Mohammed Mizanur Rahman.
“We have concluded that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to prosecute Anjem Choudary and Mohammed Rahman for inviting support for ISIL (IS), a proscribed terrorist organisation, between 29 June 2014 and 6 March this year.
“Each man is charged with one offence contrary to section 12 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
“It is alleged that Anjem Choudary and Mohammed Rahman invited support for ISIS (IS) in individual lectures which were subsequently published online.
“The decision to prosecute was taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.
“Anjem Choudary and Mohammed Rahman will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court later today, 5 August 2015.
“Criminal proceedings have now commenced and both men have a right to a fair trial.
“It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”
Section 12 of the Terrorism Act 2000 says that a person commits an offence if they invite “support for a proscribed organisation, and the support is not, or is not restricted to, the provision of money or other property.”
It says that a person can face up to 10 years in jail if found guilty.
The Home Office moved to ban Islamic State, which it calls Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in June last year.
News Alert Committee to Protect Journalists
New York, March 4, 2015—The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Turkish authorities to release Mehmet Baransu, a columnist and correspondent for the privately-owned daily newspaper Taraf, who has been charged with obtaining secret documents and held in custody since March 1, according to news reports.
Police searched Baransu’s house in Istanbul on March 1 and detained him in connection with documents he received from an unidentified source in 2010, according to news reports. The documents were the basis for a widely reported investigation and trial related to an alleged military coup plot known as Sledgehammer.
Sercan Sakallı, the lawyer for Baransu, told CPJ a court order has branded the investigation secret and Baransu’s defense team does not yet know what evidence the prosecution has against him. He added that authorities have focused on a specific document, titled “The Sovereign Action Plan” that was part of a packet of documents Baransu shared with prosecutors in 2010. That document, the lawyer said, was never made public, and authorities did not previously question the reporter’s possession of a classified document.
Baransu was taken to Istanbul’s Metris Prison on March 2, according to news reports. No trial date has been set yet, Sakallı told CPJ. If convicted, Baransu faces up to eight years in prison, according to Turkey’s penal code.
“A journalist’s job is to report on developments in the public interest, and it is absurd that a journalist should be prosecuted for obtaining documents—which in any case were shared with authorities,” CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said. “We call on Turkish authorities to immediately release Mehmet Baransufrom custody and drop allcharges against him.”
Taraf was the first paper to report on the purported coup, based on the documents obtained by Baransu according to reports . Baransu also shared the documents he received from the source with Turkish prosecutors in 2010 according to Tarafand other reports. According to police interrogation documents reviewed by CPJ, Baransu never revealed his source.
On March 3, Taraf’s founding editor Ahmet Altan defended Baransu in an op-ed
published by the daily Cumhuriyet . “Since when have coup plans been classified as ‘documents related to state security’ and ‘state knowledge that needs to be kept classified?’” wrote Altan. “I am the person who published the [Sledgehammer] story, the one who decided it needed to be published, the one who didn’t doubt for a moment that Sledgehammer was a coup plot.”
The case against Baransu comes amid increasing tension between the Turkish ruling party, the AKP, and its once-ally-turned-foe, the Gülen movement, an organization tied to U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen. The AKP backed Sledgehammer prosecutions several years ago but has since backtracked, blaming the Gülen movement with fabricating evidence, newsreports said. In June, Turkey’s Constitutional Court ordered the release of more than 230 military officers, previously imprisoned in the case, according to reports.