A German court in Hamburg has decided on Wednesday to release Mehmet Fatih Sayan, who gathered information for Turkish National Intelligence Organisation (MİT) on Turkish opposition circles in European countries and allegedly planned assassinations targeting Kurdish politicians.
Pro-Kurdish news outlets have accused Hamburg court of ignoring the documents proving the assassination plans against Kurdish politicians by Sayan, who had been in prison since December 15, 2016 and on trial for a month.
The court stated that Sayan had gathered information on Kurds in Germany between January and November 2016 for Turkish intelligence services and had received 20,950 euros for this assignment. However, the same court has given Sayan the minimum sentence despite of his own confessions during his detention.
The judge has reportedly stated that the reason for the sentence was that Sayan’s efforts were not large-scale and didn’t pose a threat to the German state. The judge stated that the issue was, at its core, Turkey’s domestic disputes spilling over to Germany and alleged that Sayan’s espionage activity was not “professional.” The court has stated that the 2 to 6 years prison sentence demanded by the prosecution was excessive and issued Sayan’s release on condition of 2 years on probation.
Sayan’s residence permit had expired on December 15, 2016 when he was detained and Sayan had applied for asylum at the Hamburg Immigration and Refugees Bureau. Sayan will have to sign in with the police once a week. Contrary to the court’s stance, the prosecution had stated that Sayan had been working for Turkish intelligence agencies since 2013 and had received 30 thousand euros as compensation.
After his espionage activity was exposed, Sayan had applied for asylum in the Hamburg Federal Immigration and Refugees Bureau on December 12, 2016. In his first statement there, he said the MİT had been planning assassinations against Kurdish politicians. Later in his deposition at the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) he changed his story completely.
Sayan continued with the same attitude during the trial as well, denying almost all allegations by claiming they were coincidences in his personal life, clearing the MİT and attempting to put the blame on some police officers affiliated with the Gülen movement. During the trial, Sayan said he “accepted the news stories about [himself] as if they were true so [his] asylum claim would be approved.”