Three arrested over Turkish pilot kidnapping in Lebanon
A composite of two undated file pictures obtained from the Turkish Ihlas news agency shows Turkish Airlines pilot Murat Akpinar (R) and his co-pilot Murat Agca, kidnapped on August 9, 2013 in Beirut. (IHLAS NEWS AGENCY / IHA / AFP)
Click here to add Abbas Shoaib as an alert
Disable alert for Abbas Shoaib,
Click here to add al-Imam Ali al-Reda as an alert
Disable alert for al-Imam Ali al-Reda,
Click here to add Ali al-Reda as an alert
Disable alert for Ali al-Reda,
Click here to add Ankara as an alert
Disable alert for Ankara,
Click here to add Beirut as an alert
Disable alert for Beirut,
Click here to add Daniel Shoaib as an alert
Disable alert for Daniel Shoaib,
Click here to add General Directorate as an alert
Disable alert for General Directorate,
Click here to add Internal Security Forces as an alert
Disable alert for Internal Security Forces,
Click here to add Jameel Saleh as an alert
Disable alert for Jameel Saleh,
Click here to add Murat Agca as an alert
Disable alert for Murat Agca,
Click here to add Murat Akpinar as an alert
Disable alert for Murat Akpinar,
Click here to add National News Agency as an alert
Disable alert for National News Agency,
Click here to add state-news agency as an alert
Disable alert for state-news agency,
Click here to add state-run agency as an alert
Disable alert for state-run agency,
Click here to add Turkish Airlines as an alert
Disable alert for Turkish Airlines
The Internal Security Forces Information Branch arrested earlier this week three suspects over the kidnapping of two Turkish Airlines pilots, the National News Agency reported Saturday.
The suspects, according to the state-news agency, were arrested Thursday at the Cocody Bridge, where Turkish Airlines pilot Murat Akpinar and his co-pilot Murat Agca were kidnapped at gunpoint as the two were making their way to a Beirut hotel. The two were snatched just after leaving the airport.
The NNA report did not reveal the identity of the three suspects.
The state-run agency said the Information Brach is collecting evidence in the case and said the suspects were interrogated before being referred to the Mount Lebanon General Prosecutor.
The case of the Turkish pilots has become linked to demands for the release of nine Lebanese hostages in Syria. In May 2012, Syrian rebels abducted 11 Lebanese Shiites in Allepo’s Azaz. The Lebanese had been on a pilgrimage to the Imam al-Reda shrine in Iran. Only two of the kidnapped have been release.
Shortly after the incident at the airport on Aug. 9, a group calling itself Zuwwar al-Imam Ali al-Reda – “visitors to al-Imam Ali al-Reda” claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of the two Turks and demanded the release of the nine Lebanese in Syria.
Earlier this week, authorities summoned four people over links to the abduction of Akpinar and Agca.
The detainees are all from the Saleh family, all relatives of one of the hostages in Syria called Jameel Saleh.
The relatives of the pilgrims insist Turkey help in the release their loved ones in Syria. They have held repeated sit-ins and protests outside Turkish interests in the country, including Ankara’s cultural center and the offices of Turkish Airlines in Beirut.
The relatives staged over the weekend a sit-in near General Directorate of the Internal Security Forces in Ashrafieh to protest the “random” arrests of their relatives.
Amid a heavy security deployment, the relatives accused the police of disseminating false information about the case.
Daniel Shoaib, the brother of one of the hostages, Abbas Shoaib, said the Information Branch was providing media outlets with false reports blaming the relatives for the abduction of the Turks.
“The sit-in aims at protesting the random arrests by the Information Branch of our relatives through false accusations that the relatives of the hostages are behind the abduction of the Turkish pilots,” Daniel Shoaib said.
He said that three men had been arrested for their alleged involvement in the abduction of the pilots on the basis of “void accusations.”