Israeli court releases Turkish national pending trial

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Ebru Ozkan, 27, was arrested by Israeli forces at Ben Gurion Airport on June 11 when she was returning to Turkey for alleged links with terrorist groups, is seen ahead of her trial at Ofer Military Court in Ramallah, West Bank on July 11, 2018. Issam Rimawi / Anadolu Agency

Turkish national Ebru Ozkan, who has been under arrest since June 11 for allegedly aiding Palestinian group Hamas during a touristic visit to Jerusalem, was released Wednesday pending trial after an Israeli military court decided to grant her conditional release, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Ozkan, 27, is forbidden to leave the country, and her passport has been confiscated by Israeli police.

Ozkan’s lawyer, Omar Khamaysa, said she had left HaSharon prison near Natanya city accompanied by officials of Turkey’s embassy in Tel Aviv.

On Tuesday, the court ruled to release Ozkan on bail set at 15,000 Israeli shekels (roughly $4,110). Prosecutors lodged an objection, but it was dismissed by the court.

Ozkan was arrested by Israeli security at Ben Gurion Airport on June 11, when she was attempting to board a return flight to Turkey, on suspicion of posing a threat to national security and ties to terrorist groups.

Özkan is not the first Turkish citizen to have been detained in recent times by Israeli authorities.

In January Osman Hazır, a 46-year-old Turkish national, was arrested for snapping a selfie at East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque while holding a Turkish flag.

And last December, Israel arrested two other Turks — Abdullah Kızılırmak and Mehmet Gargılı — after the pair had quarreled with Israeli police who had tried to prevent them from entering the flashpoint holy site.

In the same month, Adem Koç, another Turkish national, was arrested inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for allegedly “disturbing the peace and taking part in an illegal demonstration.”

Kızılırmak, Gargılı and Koç were all subsequently released on bail.

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