German police search for missing radical Islamist

27th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

27 May 2004 , COLOGNE - Cologne police were searching Thursday for radical Turkish Islamist Metin Kaplan who went missing in the wake of a state administrative court ruling permitting his expulsion to Turkey. Around 100 policemen were searching for Kaplan, officials said. After Cologne issued an arrest warrant for the self-proclaimed "Caliph of Cologne", police went to his home late Wednesday but he was no longer there. Kaplan had "apparently vanished in space", a Cologne police spokesman said about the em

 27 May 2004

COLOGNE - Cologne police were searching Thursday for radical Turkish Islamist Metin Kaplan who went missing in the wake of a state administrative court ruling permitting his expulsion to Turkey.

Around 100 policemen were searching for Kaplan, officials said. After Cologne issued an arrest warrant for the self-proclaimed "Caliph of Cologne", police went to his home late Wednesday but he was no longer there.

Kaplan had "apparently vanished in space", a Cologne police spokesman said about the embarrassing situation. The radical Turkish Islamist had been under virtual house arrest.

Guether Beckstein, interior minister for the southern state of Bavaria, sharply criticised the Cologne authorities. On a German television station Thursday morning, he said he had assumed that Kaplan was being kept under observation.

"But this has not been the case, or it has not been successful," said Beckstein. The next interior ministers conference of the German states would "be discussing this".

The developments follow on Wednesday's events, when North Rhine-Westphalia state administrative court in Muenster ruled there were "no serious legal obstacles" to Kaplan's deportation to Turkey, where he faces treason charges.

Kaplan, who served four years prison in Germany for incitement to murder, has been resisting expulsion to Turkey, arguing that he would not receive a fair trial there.

Kaplan came to Germany in 1982 as an asylum-seeker. In 1995 he assumed the leadership of the "Caliphate State" group - now banned by the authorities - from his father. In an ensuing power struggle with a rival, Ibrahim Sofu, Kaplan had urged his followers to kill Sofu. Sofu was murdered by unknown assailants in Berlin in 1997.

DPA

Subject: German News

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