Turkish police reveal nonexistence of ‘secret witness’ whose statements led to many imprisonments

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An inside view from the Turkey's biggest court house, Çağlayan. PHOTO: Hürriyet

The Diyarbakır Police Department has revealed that an anonymous witness codenamed “Venus” whose testimony led to the detention and imprisonment of scores of people doesn’t actually exist, the Mezopotamya news agency reported on Wednesday.

The revelation came amid a terrorism-related investigation overseen by a Diyarbakır high criminal court that ordered the detention and arrest of dozens of people, most of whom were between the ages 50 and 80.

The court demanded that secret witness Venus be heard upon an application by Gülşen Özbek, a lawyer for one of the defendants in the case.

In its confidential written response, the Diyarbakır police admitted that there are no archive records or documents related to the witness in question.

Upon testimony by Venus many individuals, including several elderly people, were charged with deliberately aiding terrorist organizations.

“These people were subjected to prosecution through fabricated evidence and a witness who doesn’t exist,” Özbek said, adding that the police officers involved should be suspended and investigated for misleading the court.

Özbek also pointed out that secret witnesses have become a widespread practice used in charges of organized crime and terrorism.

“Secret witnesses are made up by the police. The relevant laws should be immediately repealed,” Özbek claimed.

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