Turkish Woman Charged With Giving Money - and Perfume - to Hamas

An attorney for Ebru Ozkan, jailed by Israel for the past month accuses Israel of staging a political trial

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Turkish citizen, Ebru Ozkan, who was arrested at an Israeli airport last month,at a military court on July 8, 2018.
Turkish citizen, Ebru Ozkan, who was arrested at an Israeli airport last month,at a military court on July 8, 2018.Credit: Nir Elias/Reuters

Military prosecutors indicted Turkish woman Ebru Ozkan for transferring money and other valuables to Hamas.

Ozkan, jailed by Israel for the past month, was charged on several counts of providing services for an unrecognized association.

The first charge says that in 2016, on her way to Israel, Ozkan received five bottles of perfume at the Istanbul airport. She was asked to take them to Israel. She is charged with bringing them in and giving them to an unidentified contact person, even though she was told it would be used for Hamas money laundering.

Another charge is that she received a charger for a mobile phone from one of her colleagues at her job at a research institute in which Hamas members are also reportedly employed. She was asked to take the charger to someone in the West Bank, and tell him this was “chocolate from a friend whom you gave money to.” She is charged with taking it to Israel, although she never met this person or gave him the charger.

The third charge is that in 2017 she received $500 from the same colleague before coming to Israel. She also received $100 for herself and $1000 for covering her expenses in Israel. She is accused of realizing that her colleague was connected to Hamas. He is said to have told her the money was from a foreign source. She is accused of taking the money to Israel through her sister and another friend.

Okzan’s lawyer told Haaretz that her indictment stemmed from political, not legal reasons.

“This is clearly meant to deter Turkish citizens who identify with al-Aqsa.” The lawyer said that Okzan was not aware that the people she brought money for and other objects were from Hamas. He said she’d been questioned in Arabic even though she doesn’t speak it well. She was forced to sign a distorted document, he added.

Ozkan was arrested on June 11, on her way back home. Since then she has not been allowed to talk to her family. She could not meet a lawyer for the first two weeks and classified information about her was not given to the defense.

Ozkan’s sister told Haaretz that she had come on a private visit and was uninvolved in politics. Her detention raised a storm in Turkey and received wide media coverage. Turkey’s foreign minister called Ozkan “our sister”, and vowed to respond in kind.

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