Bulgaria charges 5 for ‘logistical support’ in Istanbul bombing

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Nov. 19 (UPI) — Bulgaria has charged five people with providing “logistical support” to the suspected perpetrators of a bombing that killed six people and wounded 81 in Istanbul on Sunday.

The five individuals were charged on Saturday with giving one of the suspected perpetrators “logistical” support to flee after the attack, according to Siyka Mileva, a spokesperson for the Sofia prosecutors’ office.

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Bulgarian television reported that three of the five suspects are Bulgarian citizens while a fourth is from an unnamed Arab nation. No details were released on the country of origin of the fifth suspect.

Turkish authorities claim to have obtained a confession from Alham Albashir, a Syrian woman they suspect of working with the PKK, a Kurdish separatist group.

The PKK and its Syrian affiliate the YPG deny involvement in the attack.

An Istanbul court remanded 17 suspects on charges of “deliberate killing” and “destroying national unity” in connection with the bombing.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu accused the United States of complicity in the attack because of its support for the YPG in Syria. He rejected condolence messages from the American government, likening them to a killer being “among the first ones to return to the scene.”

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United Nations human rights advocates in the past have accused Turkey of the systematic use of torture to extract confessions from terrorism suspects.

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer expressed such concerns in 2018 after a visit to the country.

“The authorities’ failure to publicly condemn torture and ill-treatment, and to enforce the universal prohibition of such abuse in daily practice seems to have fostered a climate of impunity, complacency and acquiescence which gravely undermines that prohibition and ultimately the rule of law,” he said after a 2016 visit to Turkey.