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Suspect in Karlov assassination case claims torture, recants previous testimony

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Hüseyin Kötüce, one of the suspects in the December 2016 murder of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov, has recanted his previous admissions, claiming that the statements were extorted through torture, the Cumhuriyet newspaper reported on Monday.

The trial is being heard by the Ankara 2nd High Criminal Court and includes 28 defendants, 13 of whom are under arrest.

Formerly serving at Turkey’s Telecommunications Authority (BTK), Kötüce is charged with gathering intelligence on Karlov via another suspect in the case who was a member of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT).

“How have I ended up in this trial?” Kötüce asked. “My vehicle was intercepted on Feb. 28, 2017 while I was on my way home from work. I was handcuffed and put in a black mini van with a sack thrown over my head.”

Claiming to be abducted by MİT, Kötüce said he was forced to sign the testimony he gave under torture.

“When the interrogation was done, they left me on the side of a road,” he said.

Kötüce also claimed he doesn’t know the MİT official he is accused of contacting for intelligence.

Karlov was shot dead by an off-duty policeman while speaking at an Ankara exhibit opening in December 2016. The gunman, Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, was killed by police at the scene.

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