Appeal of Turkish national against 3-year imprisonment accepted

CAIRO: A court in Suez scheduled an appeal filed by Turkish citizen Rashad Öztürk for April 17 against his three year imprisonment handed over on March 30 for “spying and contacting Muslim Brotherhood leaders,” Youm reported.

Military intelligence arrested Öztürk, 46, on Aug. 19, 2013, in Suez while he was “collecting information” on attacked churches, according to Ahram Digital.

Several churches in different governorates were attacked in the wake of the forcible dispersal of Rabaa al-Adaweya and Nahda sit-ins on Aug. 14, which resulted in hundreds of deaths.

On Aug. 15, the two countries recalled their ambassadors. While Turkey’s ambassador returned in September, later expelled in November, the Egyptian ambassador never left for Turkey again.

A large sum of money was found with the defendants at the time of the arrest, and he was preparing to give it to the secretary general of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, Dostour newspaper reported the prosecution as saying. Youm7 reported that pictures of him at Rabaa sit-in were found on his laptop.

An adviser at the Turkish embassy in Cairo told Anadolu Agency in September that the embassy contacted Öztürk inside the prison several times, and that he had been in Egypt for two years to learn Arabic.

“Egypt is going through a very sensitive stage and investigations last for a long time because of the large numbers of detainees,” the adviser told Anadolu.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan belongs to the Justice and Development Party (AKP), which recently won municipal elections.

AKP affiliated with an Islamist movement in Turkey that resembles the Muslim Brotherhood, considers the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi a defeat to his regional project, Mohamed Abdel Qader, expert of Turkish affairs at the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, told The Cairo Post in December.The Egyptian-Turkish relations improved dramatically with the rule of the Brotherhood, and with the end of their rule the relations sharply decline, which proves that the relations were between groups, and not countries, Abdel Qader said.

Turkey has openly criticized Morsi’s ouster and called for his release. It has also hosted a number of conferences and meeting of the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood.

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