Five people in Turkey accused of spying for Syria
Five people, two of them Syrians, are on trial on charges of military espionage and of attempting to kidnap a Syrian army defector, Todays Zaman reported.
Turkish prosecutors are demanding the maximum 54 years in prison for each of the defendants accused of passing information to Syria about officers who have fled to Turkey and of trying to abduct a Syrian army lieutenant at knifepoint, the Anatolia news agency has reported. The suspects have not been identified.
Meanwhile, in a separate case, five suspects, including a former Turkish intelligence official, who were arrested in February are awaiting trial for their alleged link to the September 2011 abduction of Syrian military defectors Mustafa Kassum and Col. Hussein Harmush.
Uğur Buğra Tanır, the attorney of the former National Intelligence Organization (MİT) agent in the case, has spoken up against the lagging trial.
"Because the case has not been presented in seven months, my client is falling on hard times both physically and psychologically," Tanır stated, claiming that the agent has not also been paid two-thirds of his salary despite the presence of a clear provision in Turkish law for detained public servants.
The case around Harmush became a top priority for investigators after the Syrian League for Human Rights reported on Jan. 30 that Harmush had been executed by the regime's security forces. "An air force intelligence unit last week carried out a sentence to shoot dead officer Hussein Harmush," the nongovernmental group reported at the time.
Upon escaping to Turkey in June 2011, Harmush became the first high-ranking Syrian military officer to declare his opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's ongoing crackdown of a then largely peaceful protest movement.