A high-ranking ISIS operative, declared “arrested” on Saturday by the governor of Ankara, has now been confirmed to be at liberty. The operative was put on trial for “human trafficking” for kidnapping an Êzîdî girl and subsequently offering her for sale on the dark web.
Arzu Kurt, co-chair of the Freedom for Lawyers Association (ÖHD) Ankara Branch, revealed that the ISIS leader, identified as S.A.O, was called in for questioning following a hearing on October 23. After providing a statement to the authorities on under the guidance of his attorney, appointed by the Ankara Bar Association, S.A.O. was released.
S.A.O. had not attended or been brought to court sessions for approximately two years, according to Kurt. However, he appeared to give a statement after reports emerged that the child had been handed over to her abducting family, leading to questions about why the authorities had not obtained his statement earlier.
Restrictions on the case
Additionally, during the hearing on October 23, the court imposed restrictions, citing the need to protect the child’s personal information from being disclosed in the media. This decision has been criticized for attempting to shield the case from public scrutiny and awareness.
ÖHD’s Kurt emphasized that the child, who had been compelled to live with the family responsible for her abduction for nearly eight years, has once again been placed under state protection, a fact confirmed by the court.
This revelation follows earlier statements by the Ankara Governor’s Office, which announced S.A.O.’s arrest after news of the Êzîdî girl’s alleged return to her abducting family. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Family and Social Services disclosed that the child, A.S.O., was placed under state protection during the operation at the same residence.
The Êzîdî children kidnapped by ISIS are victims of a brutal genocide that began in 2014, when the terrorist group attacked the Sinjar district in Iraq and abducted thousands of Ezidis, especially women and children. Many of them were sold as slaves, tortured, raped, or killed by their captors. Some of them were smuggled into Turkey, where they faced further exploitation and abuse. (EMK/VK)