PM allows investigation of MİT official involved in abduction of Syrian defectors

March 06, 2012, Tuesday/ 09:50:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has allowed an investigation into a National Intelligence Organization (MİT) official who was allegedly involved in the abduction of two Syrian military defectors while prosecutors are still waiting to receive permission from Erdoğan to investigate three other MİT staff members who are also suspected of involvement in the incident.

Four MİT officials are suspected of involvement in the September abduction of Syrian military defectors Mustafa Kassum and Col. Hussein Harmush. Kassum and Harmush were handed over to Syrian security forces after they were kidnapped from a refugee camp in Altınözü, Hatay province, near the Syrian border. They had defected in June.

The Specially Authorized Adana Prosecutor's Office recently requested permission from the prime minister to investigate four MİT officials. Erdoğan has allowed an investigation into Ö.S. who works as a translator at MİT.

The move on the part of the prosecutor's office follows an amendment made to the MİT law last month that stipulates that permission must be secured from the prime minister before launching an investigation of intelligence officials. The government pressed ahead with the amendment after MİT Undersecretary Hakan Fidan and four other top MİT officers were summoned to testify by the İstanbul specially authorized prosecutor in early February.

When the abduction first appeared in the media, top MİT regional agent M. A. A. informed Ö.S. that he had been caught on camera at the refugee camp. His conversation with Ö. S. was recorded by police.

The prosecutor requested an arrest warrant from the court for MİT Adana regional chief N. B. and Hatay regional chief M. A. A. After the demand came from the prosecutor, the two individuals were transferred to MİT headquarters in Ankara in an attempt to shield them from further investigation.

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