Kyrgyz man convicted of murder released in prison mix-up
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULJul 05, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Turkey was rocked by another scandalous prison breakout yesterday when authorities released a Kyrgyz convict instead of another Kyrgyz citizen. The incident comes months after a drug lord forged a document authorizing his release. Ikrom Ahsokovic was on the run after he was charged with killing a police officer in Kyrgyzstan two years ago. Soon after an Interpol red notice was issued, he was captured by Turkish police in the southern city of Antalya. He was imprisoned at a prison there and an extradition to Kyrgyzstan was underway when another Kyrgyz national, charged with theft, was sent to the same prison ward. Ten days ago, the court ordered the release of the newcomer, whose identity has not been revealed. When prison officials announced the release of one of the two Kyrgyz citizens in the prison, they apparently did not bother checking his ID. Ahsokovic introduced himself as the man eligible for release and was let go. After he was long gone, the other man told the prison officials he was the man they were supposed to release. An investigation was launched when the convict who was supposed to be released told police he agreed with Ahsokovic to switch places as they did not expect the prison officials to not notice the difference. "We tried and succeeded. I would meet him in Istanbul after I was released," he said.
Upon his fellow inmate's testimony, police checked hotels, lodgings and residences in Istanbul's Laleli, a popular district among migrants from former Soviet republics. Ahsokovic was captured in the house of an Uzbek national and was sent back to prison in Antalya. The prosecutor's office will now look into how the prison officials granted Ahsokovic's release.
Ahsokovic was not as lucky as Doğan Alagöz, a drug baron who reportedly bribed his way out of a high-security prison complex in Istanbul's Silivri. In January, prison officials had released Alagöz, who was serving 12 years on charges of manufacturing synthethic drugs, after a document from the Supreme Court of Appeals, the ultimate judicial authority, was faxed to the prison authorizing his release. The document was forged in fact but in a glaring error, Alagöz's release was noticed one month later. An investigation into the incident discovered that Alagöz handed bribes to several prison and court officials. He currently remains at large.
Prisons in Turkey have tight security provided by gendarmerie troops to help prevent escapes, although escape attempts are not uncommon. In 1988, 29 convicts managed to dig a 60-meter-long tunnel underneath the Metris prison in Istanbul and escape.