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Suspect in 2002 murder of academic extradited from Bulgaria, imprisoned by Ankara court

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An Ankara court on Saturday arrested a suspect in the 2002 murder of a Turkish academic the same day Bulgaria extradited him, Turkish media reported.

Retired colonel Mustafa Levent Göktaş, a former member of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) elite Special Forces Command who was sought on an INTERPOL Red Notice, was detained in the Bulgarian city of Svilengrad in late August.

Ankara contacted Bulgarian authorities, and the Justice Ministry sent an extradition request for Göktaş on Sept. 5.

Turkey’s extradition request was approved by a court in Plovdiv this month.

Göktaş was brought to İstanbul early Saturday and testified at the Ankara 4th High Criminal Court via the Audio and Visual Information System (SEGBİS). The court arrested Göktaş, who was sent to Marmara Prison in İstanbul at around 4:30 a.m. local time, the T24 news website said.

Necip Hablemitoğlu, an academic in the history department at Ankara University, was murdered outside his home in Ankara on Jan. 18, 2002.

Göktaş faces charges of premeditated murder and membership in a criminal organization as part of an investigation carried out by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

The office issued arrest warrants in June for nine people in connection with the academic’s murder. Eight of them, including retired military officers, were arrested by the Ankara police, while Göktaş was still being sought.

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