Turkish court rules to keep U.S. consulate worker accused of espionage in jail

An Istanbul court on Wednesday ruled to keep a U.S. consulate worker on trial on espionage charges in jail, U.S.-government funded news outlet Voice of America Turkish reported.

Metin Topuz,  a Turkish translator for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration at the consulate in Istanbul, will remain in detention until his next hearing in December, it quoted Topuz’s lawyer as saying.

Arrested in 2017, Topuz is accused of ties to U.S.-based Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen, who Ankara says organised a failed coup attempt in 2016. The Turkish government placed the Gülen movement on its list of terrorist organisations in May 2016.

Since the failed 2016 coup, tens of thousands of people have been detained over suspected links to Gülen, who denies the charges, and some 130,000 people have been dismissed from public sector jobs for being members of the movement.

Topuz is accused of espionage as well as arranging arms trafficking through exchanges on the WhatsApp messaging service and faces life in prison if found guilty.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has accepted the application by Topuz’s lawyers, Reuters reported on Tuesday citing a person close to the matter.

Topuz’s next hearing is set for Dec. 11.