Brazil refuses extradition of FETÖ terror suspect

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 08.08.2019 00:33

In what might come as a blow to bilateral relations, Brazil denied the extradition of a member of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) to Turkey.

The country's Supreme Court claimed there was no guarantee of a fair trial for Ali Sipahi in Turkey.

Sipahi, who runs restaurants in Sao Paulo has been a resident of Brazil for 12 years where he received citizenship and was among about 300 Gülenists living in Brazil. He was briefly detained upon Turkey's requests but was freed pending trial in May.

FETÖ is accused of staging the July 15 coup attempt that tried to overthrow Turkey's democratically elected government and killed 251 people and injured nearly 2,200 others.

The terrorist group is also accused of using its infiltrators in the police and the judiciary to launch two other coup attempts on Dec. 17 and Dec. 25 in 2013, under the guise of graft probes, in addition to sham trials launched against its adversaries using illegal or fake evidence and trumped-up charges.

The U.S. remains the main hub of FETÖ activity where the shadowy group operates hundreds of charter schools and affiliated companies, providing visa and employment opportunities for thousands of its followers. Gülen has lived in self-imposed exile in a secluded compound in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania since 1999.

Different countries around the world have extradited some 107 FETÖ suspects to Turkey, Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül announced back in March, adding that they sought extradition of 504 people from 91 countries in total.

A large number of Gülenists, mostly high-ranking figures, fled Turkey when the coup attempt was thwarted. A large number of Gülenists had already left the country prior to the coup attempt after Turkish prosecutors launched investigations into other crimes of the terrorist group. Despite Turkey's extradition requests and bilateral legal agreements, many FETÖ members still enjoy their lives in different countries around the world. The terrorist group, which disguised itself for years as a charity movement with religious undertones, runs a global network of schools and companies which are used to fund its activities.

Turkey managed to secure the support of its allies for the closure of schools and companies and their handover to Turkish authorities since the 2016 coup attempt though its key allies in Europe and the U.S. remain reluctant on helping Turkey's counterterrorism efforts by refusing the extradition of key FETÖ figures.

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