Noncommissioned officer who allegedly kidnapped and raped young woman released pending trial

Musa Orhan, a noncommissioned Gendarmerie officer who allegedly kidnapped and raped 18-year-old İpek Er, was released from prison on Tuesday, Turkish media reported.

Orhan was arrested last week after mounting criticism and public outrage and put in pre-trial detention.

Orhan’s lawyer, Mehmet Erkan Akkus, filed a petition with the court, objecting to his arrest and claiming that his client did not pose a flight risk. After deliberations, a high criminal court in the southeastern city of Siirt ordered Orhan’s release.

The court also rejected an appeal against the release lodged by the Batman Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, which had conducted the investigation into Er’s death, saying that the judges’ decision was final.

Er, who was allegedly abducted and raped by Orhan for 20 days in the southeastern city of Batman, recently died in a hospital after attempting to take her own life.

The ordeal of the victim was discovered in a letter she wrote on July 16 before attempting to commit suicide. The suspect, Orhan, was detained the following day after the rape allegation was confirmed by a report from the Council of Forensic Medicine but was later released under judicial supervision.

In his testimony Orhan initially denied involvement in any kind of sexual relationship with the victim. But when he was shown the forensic report, he then said he was under the influence of alcohol but gave no further details.

The Batman Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office indicted Orhan on charges of “aggravated sexual assault.” The first hearing in the trial is set to be held at the Siirt 2nd High Criminal Court in October.

The Gendarmerie General Command suspended Orhan from the service.

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