ANKWAWA, Iraq / MARDIN, Turkey – The Iraqi-based Syriac political party Bnay Bethnahrain calls on the Turkish authorities to immediately annul the verdict of the court in Mardin in the case against Syriac Orthodox monk Sefer “Aho” Bilecen. In a press statement published on its website, the party states:
“We in the Bnay Bethnahrain Party reject such police practices and we demand the relevant Turkish (political and judicial) authorities to release monk Aho and give him back his freedom.”
“We urge the Turkish authorities to stop politicizing human values and concepts with illogical arguments. We also urge them to stop the manner of involving others in conflicts they have no interest in, merely based on suspicions or the wrong interpretation of events.”
On April 7, 2021, the Turkish authorities sentenced monk Sefer “Aho” Bilecen to more than 2 years in prison after he was arrested on January 9, 2020. Monk Aho was charged with collaborating with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which is in armed opposition to the Turkish regime. Monk Aho denies any affiliation to the Kurdish PKK and says he does not know the people who knocked on the St Jacob Monastery in Tur Abdin asking him for food and water.