Five Turks released from obstruction charge

File picture shows Turkish academic Ismet Ozcelik, 57, during his arrest on December 13, 2016 after Immigration officers seized his passport, despite him having a valid social visit pass for entry into Malaysia. — Picture courtesy of Suheyl Ozcelik
File picture shows Turkish academic Ismet Ozcelik, 57, during his arrest on December 13, 2016 after Immigration officers seized his passport, despite him having a valid social visit pass for entry into Malaysia. — Picture courtesy of Suheyl Ozcelik

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 — Five Turkish nationals including two already deported were today granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal for allegedly obstructing public officers last year.

Their lawyer, Rosli Dahlan, said that the prosecution withdrew its case after he sent a representation letter arguing that the charges were invalid as two of the five — Ismet Ozcelik and Turgay Karaman — have already been sent home.

“How all these other people were charged is that they were said to have assisted Ismet when the immigration officers tried to arrest him. So now Ismet is out of the country, sent by the Malaysian government themselves back to Turkey, so how can the charge against him proceed?

“If the charge against him cannot proceed because he is not in the country, how can the charge against the rest for assisting him proceed?” Rosli said.

Rosli said he was informed of the withdrawal on Friday, and said he hoped the remaining three will not be forcibly repatriated.

The five — Ismet Ozcelik, Suheyl Ozcelik, Erdem Eroglu, Sraj Mammadov and Mukhlis Noordin — were jointly charged under under Section 353 of the Penal Code for allegedly using criminal force to obstruct immigration and police officers on December 13, 2016.

Ismet and Karaman were deported to Turkey on May 11.

On May 12, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the group were wanted by Turkey for suspected involvement with the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (Feto).

Turgay and Ihsan had initially been thought abducted before police confirmed the two were arrested and the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) invoked.

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