Israeli court releases Turkish national Özkan pending trial

Turkish national Ebru Özkan, who has been under arrest since June 11 for allegedly aiding Palestinian group Hamas during a touristic visit to Jerusalem, was released Wednesday pending trial after an Israeli military court decided to grant her conditional release, according to a report by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency.

Özkan, 27, is forbidden to leave the country and her passport has been confiscated by Israeli police. Özkan’s lawyer, Omar Khamaysa, said she had left HaSharon prison near Natanya city accompanied by officials from Turkey’s embassy in Tel Aviv.

On Tuesday the court ruled to release Özkan on bail set at 15,000 Israeli shekels (roughly $4,110). Prosecutors lodged an objection, but it was dismissed by the court.

Özkan was arrested by Israeli security at Ben Gurion Airport on June 11, when she was attempting to board a return flight to Turkey, on suspicion of posing a threat to national security and ties to terrorist groups.

Özkan is not the first Turkish citizen to have been detained in recent times by Israeli authorities.

In January Osman Hazır, a 46-year-old Turkish national, was arrested for snapping a selfie at East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque while holding a Turkish flag.

And last December, Israel arrested two other Turks — Abdullah Kızılırmak and Mehmet Gargılı — after the pair had quarreled with Israeli police who had tried to prevent them from entering the flashpoint holy site.

In the same month, Adem Koç, another Turkish national, was arrested inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for allegedly “disturbing the peace and taking part in an illegal demonstration.”

Kızılırmak, Gargılı and Koç were all subsequently released on bail.

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