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Turkish court releases Assyrian priest pending trial

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A Turkish court on Tuesday ruled to release pending trial Sefer (Aho) Bileçen, an Assyrian priest who was arrested on Friday, the Independent Turkish service reported.

The court in its decision said there was no reason to suspect Bileçen presented a flight risk.

The priest was arrested on Friday for allegedly “aiding terrorist groups.”

The Assyrian Kadim Foundation tweeted on Monday that they are expecting to be received by Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu today.

“In view of the fact that the issue is before the judiciary, we call on everyone to remain patient and calm,” the foundation said. “We have full confidence that our priest will return to his holy duties at the earliest.”

Three other members of the Assyrian community were also arrested along with Bileçen.

An autochthonous Christian group, Assyrians were the victims of massacres and forced displacement at the beginning of the 20th century in what is today recognized by many as genocide.

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