Austria expels alleged Turkish spy accused of assassination plots

Austria expels alleged Turkish spy accused of assassination plots
A sign reading ‘Republic of Austria — border control’ in the Italian village of Brenner, Italy, at the Italian-Austrian border, April 12, 2016. (Reuters)
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Updated 12 January 2021

Austria expels alleged Turkish spy accused of assassination plots

Austria expels alleged Turkish spy accused of assassination plots
  • According to former MP Berivan Aslan who is active on Kurdish issues, Ozturk had been charged with assassinating her and two others
  • As Ozturk could no longer be held in pre-trial detention, authorities decided to expel him rather than allow him to remain on Austrian soil

VIENNA: AN Italian man of Turkish origin who claimed to have been tasked with killing public figures in Austria has been expelled from the country, his lawyer said Tuesday.
Feyyaz Ozturk, 53, turned himself in to the Austrian intelligence services last year.
According to former MP Berivan Aslan who is active on Kurdish issues, Ozturk had been charged with assassinating her and two others who had expressed views critical of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“The authorities considered him to be an imminent danger to public security and he was taken to the Italian border before Christmas,” Ozturk’s lawyer Veronika Ujvarosi told AFP.
Prosecutors confirmed that they had opened an investigation against Ozturk in September and subsequently charged him with conducting “military espionage on behalf of a foreign state.”
He risks up to two years in jail if convicted.
Ozturk’s trial is scheduled for February 4, Vienna’s criminal court confirmed Tuesday.
According to local press reports, Ozturk had admitted to investigators that he gave false testimony to a Turkish court in a case which ended in the conviction of an employee at the US consulate in Istanbul last June on terror charges.
As Ozturk could no longer be held in pre-trial detention, authorities decided to expel him rather than allow him to remain on Austrian soil, Ujvarosi said.
“My client is well and he would like to return to Austria,” she said, adding that she had asked for a temporary lifting of his ban from Austria so that he can attend his trial.
Aslan told AFP this week that she was still under police protection, first extended to her when the plot allegations came to light last year.
Turkish authorities have vehemently denied any connection to Ozturk.
A neutral country which plays host to a wide range of international organizations, Austria has a reputation as a center of espionage.
However, allegations of plots such as that involving Ozturk have been rare.


Oxford University to test potential COVID-19 ‘wonder drug’ Ivermectin

The trial is assessing Ivermectin, a medicine used on livestock and people who have been infected by parasitic worms, which has been hailed by some as a “wonder drug” with the potential to save thousands of lives. (Shutterstock/File Photo)
The trial is assessing Ivermectin, a medicine used on livestock and people who have been infected by parasitic worms, which has been hailed by some as a “wonder drug” with the potential to save thousands of lives. (Shutterstock/File Photo)
Updated 37 min 30 sec ago

Oxford University to test potential COVID-19 ‘wonder drug’ Ivermectin

The trial is assessing Ivermectin, a medicine used on livestock and people who have been infected by parasitic worms, which has been hailed by some as a “wonder drug” with the potential to save thousands of lives. (Shutterstock/File Photo)
  • Medicine used for parasitic worm infections
  • Other scientists said the drug had not been assessed properly

LONDON: Oxford University researchers are planning to trial a drug that has shown signs of reducing COVID-19 deaths in developing countries.

The Principle trial is aiming to find a drug that works soon after virus symptoms appear in a patient, and one that is most effective during the primary stages of the illness, The Times reported.

The trial is assessing Ivermectin, a medicine used on livestock and people who have been infected by parasitic worms, which has been hailed by some as a “wonder drug” with the potential to save thousands of lives, the report added.

Other scientists said the drug had not been assessed properly and that the full extent of its efficacy was not yet known.

“It has potential antiviral properties and anti-inflammatory properties and there have been quite a few smaller trials conducted in low and middle- income countries, showing that it speeds recovery, reduces inflammation and reduces hospitalisation,” said Chris Butler, professor of primary care at Oxford and co-chief of the Principle trial. “But there’s a gap in the data. There’s not been a really rigorous trial.”

The medicine works by blocking the entry of a protein into a cell’s nuclei, limiting the replication capacity of the virus, and initial analysis from the World Health Organization has shown promising signs.

“It could save thousands of lives a day,” said Paul Marik, from the Eastern Virginia Medical School. “The data is compelling: across Mexico, India and South America, mortality has fallen.”

Peter Horby, the Oxford University professor who helped to set up the UK’s largest COVID-19 trials, said this month the latest data was “interesting, perhaps encouraging, but not yet convincing.”

Most breakthroughs in coronavirus treatments to date work on patients who are already suffering in the later stages of the illness, but Butler and his team are hoping to find a medicine that can prevent the virus from taking hold within its host.

The trial is looking for people aged 65 and over, or those aged over 50 who have underlying health conditions, through general practitioners, online, and through the UK’s NHS Test and Trace system, The Times said.