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Turkish-German political author held on charges of murder and robbery

Award-winning, Turkish-German political author Dogan Akhanli returned to native Turkey for the first time in two decades to see his ailing father. Instead, the former refugee got arrested on 20-year-old charges.

Dogan Akhanli

Akhanli fled to Germany as a political refugee in 1991

An Istanbul court has denied Turkish-German author Dogan Akhanli's third appeal for release, Akhanli's lawyer told AFP news agency Wednesday.

Akhanli was arrested in mid-August when he tried to re-enter Turkey for the first time in nearly two decades to visit his ailing father. An Istanbul prosecutor filed a complaint charging the award-winning political writer with involvement in a 1989 armed robbery that led to one person's death.

The charges are based on eyewitness statements, one of which Akhanli's lawyer Haydar Erol alleges was produced under torture.

Protest in Germany

Akhanli's arrest has led to protests in Germany, where authors and journalists have advocated his release.

Fellow Cologne-based author Guenter Wallraff claims Akhanli's arrest is Turkey's revenge against the author for writing about the Ottoman Empire's 1915 massacre of Armenians, which Turkey refuses to recognize as genocide.

The responsible Turkish court has not yet decided whether it will proceed on the charges against Akhanli, who fled from his native Turkey to Germany in 1991 and now holds only German citizenship.

Author: David Levitz (AFP/dpa)

Editor: Andrew Bowen

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