Israeli court orders Turkish woman’s conditional release

An Israeli court on Monday ordered the conditional release of Ebru Özkan, a Turkish citizen who has been under arrest since June 11 for alleged links to terrorist groups during a touristic visit to Jerusalem, according to her lawyer.

Omar Khamaysa, Özkan’s lawyer, told Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency that during a hearing at a military court in Salem, northern Israel, on Monday the court ordered conditional release pending trial for Özkan.

Khamaysa stressed his client will be free if the Israeli prosecutor does not appeal the verdict by 5 p.m. on Tuesday. The conditions for her release are 15,000 Israeli shekels ($4,125) in bail, confiscation of her passport and her signing in twice a week at a nearby police station.

However, Israeli military prosecutors had objected to an earlier decision by a court for the conditional release of Özkan. After the prosecutor’s office objected to the verdict, a new hearing was scheduled for Wednesday for the court to decide whether to uphold the ruling. Khamaysa said the court may reject the prosecutor’s office’s appeal during the hearing at the Ofer military court in the occupied West Bank.

Khamaysa had said that Özkan was charged with seeking to transfer money and a cell phone charger to Hamas members but wasn’t aware of their identity. If the Israeli prosecutor fails to provide sufficient evidence, the lawyer asserted, the court order for a pending trial will come into force, and today’s ruling has no ban on Özkan speaking to the press.

Otherwise, Khamaysa said, the case will go to a higher court. Officials from the Turkish Embassy in Tel Aviv also attended today’s trial, he said.

Özkan was arrested on charges of threatening Israel’s security and links with terrorist groups, allegations she denies. She was among 38 Turkish tourists on a trip to Jerusalem. Her friends dispute Israel’s allegations and say she was simply there to visit Al-Aqsa Mosque in the city.

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