Jacques Beres, a French surgeon who was part of the team that established renowned nonprofit Doctors Without Borders, found himself in hot water for an unlikely charge. A story on Turkish daily Sabah's website said the 75-year-old doctor was charged with stealing the cellphone of a customs officer at Istanbul's Sabiha Gökçen International Airport.
Beres was among the first foreign doctors to enter war-torn Syria in 2012 where he actively worked to treat injured rebels and was planning to travel there again in February. As he was about to board a plane to the southeastern border city of Gaziantep, a police officer posted at the customs desk, in the company of other police officers, caught up with him. The cellphone of the customs officer was found in Beres' possession. The elderly surgeon apparently took the device, which the customs officer saw on security camera footage after he realized he lost the phone.
The French national was detained and appeared before a court where he expressed his regret and apologized for the theft. The court initially sentenced him to 10 months in prison but later postponed the ruling. Beres will serve time if he commits another crime in Turkey again. The doctor was released after spending 36 days in an Istanbul prison.
Sabah's website quoting Doctors Without Borders officials said Beres has not had any links with the international organization since 2011 and was not on a mission for the organization when he was apprehended in Istanbul.