Suspects detained over Carlos Ghosn escape will remain in Turkish jail

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A Turkish judge ruled on Monday to keep five people in jail at the start of their trial over former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn’s escape from Japan to Lebanon via Istanbul, a lawyer for one of the suspects said.

An executive from Turkish private jet operator MNG Jet and four pilots were detained in early January shortly after the escape and were charged with migrant smuggling, a sentence carrying a maximum sentence of eight years in jail.

At the time of the incident, MNG Jet said the executive acted without the knowledge of the company and it had filed a criminal complaint for the illegal use of its aircraft.

“We expect our client to be acquitted in the end,” said Mehmet Fatih Danaci, a lawyer for jet operator executive Okan Kosemen, adding that even if found guilty and handed a maximum sentence, Kosemen should only serve a short time in jail.

Former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn leaves his lawyer Junichiro Hironaka's office in Tokyo. (Reuters)
Former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn leaves his lawyer Junichiro Hironaka's office in Tokyo. (Reuters)

In April, Turkey’s parliament passed a law allowing the release of tens of thousands of prisoners to ease overcrowding in jails and protect detainees from the coronavirus outbreak.

“Even if convicted of this crime, our client, who denies this accusation, has nearly served the time he needed to remain in jail under the recently imposed amnesty,” Danaci said.

The first full hearing in case is due to be held on July 3.

Ghosn has said he fled to Lebanon to escape what he called a “rigged” justice system in Japan, where he faces charges relating to alleged financial crimes, which he denies.

The US arrested two men last month on charges of enabling the dramatic escape on Dec. 29, 2019. Japan said it was working to extradite them from the US.

Read more:

First photo of Carlos Ghosn in Lebanon since fleeing Japan: Report

Ex-Nissan boss Ghosn flees to Lebanon, calls Japan’s justice system ‘rigged’

Japan will only back Lebanon IMF bailout if it deports Carlos Ghosn: Nissan Lawyer

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