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Turkish man jailed for 5 years acquitted after court fails to locate secret witnesses

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Abdurrahim Dalmış, who was arrested in 2010 and held in pretrial detention for five on terrorism charges, was acquitted by a court that announced it had been unable to locate anonymous witnesses who had filed complaints against him, the Artıgerçek news website reported on Tuesday.

Dalmış was arrested in 2010 in the southeastern Turkish province of Şırnak on several charges including membership in a terrorist organization and possession of hazardous materials without a permit as well as resisting arrest.

His trial continued for eight years, five of which he spent in pretrial detention, which the court justified by referring to the testimony of two secret witnesses.

Ultimately, Dalmış was acquitted as the court failed to find the anonymous witnesses and prove the authenticity of their statements.

Speaking on a TV program, Dalmış said: “I was arrested on charges of terrorism without any concrete evidence, and I spent five years in prison based solely on false statements from unknown individuals who never showed up at trials. I don’t believe they really exist, anyway.”

Dalmış pointed out that in ruling for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages the court admitted that he had been wronged.

He added that while justice was served in his case, hundreds remain behind bars due to vague testimonies acquired from secret witnesses, still a widespread practice in the Turkish justice system.

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