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Turkey to begin UAE spy trial in June

Ahmed Ayesh Al Astal [TurkiShalhoub/Twitter]
Ahmed Ayesh Al Astal [TurkiShalhoub/Twitter]

The Turkish Second Criminal Court will on 17 June start the trial of a Jordanian citizen accused of spying for the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Anadolu Agency reported.

The court approved during its session on Tuesday the 159-page indictment prepared by the Public Prosecution in the state of Sakarya against 45-year-old Ahmed Ayesh Al Astal who was arrested in October 2020 on charges of spying for the UAE.

The Turkish prosecution demanded a life term plus 15 years for n charges of leaking sensitive information that could harm state security as well as internal or external political interests.

The Turkish Intelligence Agency and counterterrorism teams arrested Al Astal in the Sakarya Security Directorate, as part of investigations launched by the State Prosecutor's Office.

On 21 October, a Turkish court ordered his imprisonment on charges of espionage for the UAE.

At the time, Turkish security sources told the Washington Post that Al Astal "concentrated on Turkey's relations with the Muslim world, foreign policy initiatives and domestic politics", adding that he was tasked with looking into whether the Turkish government was vulnerable to another coup following the 2016 failed attempt.

Al Astal also "passed information to the UAE about Turkey-based Arab journalists and dissidents, who may be vulnerable to recruitment efforts by Emirati intelligence."

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