20 Years Ago — Belgium Most Wanted Fehriye Erdal Is Arrested [September 26 1999]

“Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx and Interior Minister Patrick Dewael survived a storm of criticism over the disappearance of Turkish militant Fehriye Erdal during a Parliament debate on Monday night. (…) Questioned how it was possible that Erdal was allowed to live for six years above the Brussels office of the DHKP-C — which is included on the EU and US list of banned terrorist organisations — the answer was simple: that the group was only considered a terrorist organisation in Belgium since last week following the Brugge Court ruling.”

Belgium News (March 7 2006)

Fehriye Erdal

Fehriye Erdal (born 25 February 1977) is a female political activist from Turkey. She was one of the three DHKP-C members allegedly involved in the assassination of a Turkish businessman, Özdemir Sabancı and two of his employees on 9 January 1996 in Istanbul, Turkey. Belgium is a country often associated with surrealism. The story of Fehriye Erdal is a case in point. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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Since her arrest on September 26 1999, Fehriye Erdal has been found successively guilty, fugitive, wanted by Interpol, acquitted of all charges, (rumored to be) dead, guilty of murder and sentenced in absentia to 15 years’ imprisonment. She now appears on Belgium’s most wanted list.

TIMELINE

On 9 January 1996, Özdemir S., Haluk G. and Ayse N. were killed in an attack at Sabanci Center in Istanbul. The group DHKP-C, to which Fehriye Erdal belonged, claimed responsibility for the attack.

On September 26 1999, she was captured in Belgium. At the time of her arrest, she held a fake passport under the name Nese Yildirim. Belgian officials were able to identify her only after her fingerprints were taken.

On March 14 2006, she was sentenced to a four-year imprisonment in Belgium for the crimes she had committed in that country. She would later be handed over to Turkey in order to be tried for her involvement in terrorist activities within the borders of the Turkish Republic.

However, just before her sentence was announced and in spite of being under 24-hour surveillance of the Belgian Secret Service, she managed to flee…

After her escape, Interpol issued a red bulletin for Fehriye Erdal sending a message to its 186 member countries that she is to be captured and returned to Belgium. No serious information regarding her whereabouts was ever communicated to Interpol.

In 2008, the Belgian court of appeal acquitted Fehriye Erdal of all charges against her. The court ruled there is no evidence connecting Erdal with terrorist activities.

In 2011, Belgian investigators claimed they were no longer actively looking for Erdal, who was still on Interpol’s list, and they believed she might be dead.

On 20 February 2017, the court of first instance of West-Flanders, Bruges section, in Belgium declared Fehriye Erdal guilty of murder and sentenced her in absentia to 15 years’ imprisonment with immediate arrest.

Today — Fehriye Erdal is listed as one of Belgium’s most wanted… Great job!

REFERENCES

BELGIUM’S MOST WANTED — Fehriye Erdal

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20 Years Ago — Belgium Most Wanted Fehriye Erdal Is Arrested [September 26 1999]

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