'Caliph of Cologne' gets life sentence for treason

21st June 2005, Comments 0 comments

21 June 2005, ANKARA - The self-styled 'Caliph of Cologne', Metin Kaplan, was found guilty of high treason on Monday by a court in Istanbul and sentenced to life imprisonment.

21 June 2005

ANKARA - The self-styled 'Caliph of Cologne', Metin Kaplan, was found guilty of high treason on Monday by a court in Istanbul and sentenced to life imprisonment.

In a unanimous verdict, the three judges at the Istanbul Heavy Crimes court found that the radical Islamic cleric had been behind a 1998 plot to fill a light plane with explosives and crash into the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk - founder of the modern secular Turkish republic - on a day when the country's top military and political leaders would have gathered for national day ceremonies.

Prosecutors had officially charged him with "trying to topple the constitutional order by force".

Kaplan told the court on Monday that he had nothing to do with the plot but did admit that he would continue to advocate that Turkey should be run under shariah (Islamic) law.

Throughout the trial Kaplan and his lawyers had objected to written confessions given by members and supporters of his group, which they claimed had been extracted under torture.

Fears that confessions extracted under torture would be used in the trial had been the basis of attempts by his lawyers in Germany to stop his extradition last year but the German courts cleared the way for his deportation after Turkey removed the death penalty from the statute books.

Kaplan took over the Caliphate state from his father, Cemaleddin, who had fled to Germany following the 1980 military coup and established the radical Islamic group in 1984.

Kaplan spent four years in a German prison for ordering the murder of a rival, before being extradited last year.

Copyright DPA with Expatica

Subject: German news

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