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World

Several Arrested in Foiled Kidnapping Plot of Iranian Man in Turkey

February 11, 2022
Ebrahim Ramezani
3 min read
Turkish officers arrested members of the Islamic Republic's intelligence forces, a retired prosecutor, a colonel, and the owner of a Turkish defense industry trading company, among others
Turkish officers arrested members of the Islamic Republic's intelligence forces, a retired prosecutor, a colonel, and the owner of a Turkish defense industry trading company, among others
The Islamic Republic reportedly sent intelligence agent Ali Ghahreman Hajiabad to Istanbul to organize the kidnapping of an “enemy” of Iran
The Islamic Republic reportedly sent intelligence agent Ali Ghahreman Hajiabad to Istanbul to organize the kidnapping of an “enemy” of Iran

Seventeen people have been arrested on attempted kidnapping charges and collusion with Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence after Turkish authorities foiled a plot to abduct an Iranian man based in Turkey and return him to the Islamic Republic.

Turkish media site Odatv reported that the Turkish Intelligence Service (MIT) arrested Morteza Soltan Sanjali, an employee for the Bai Sagholam Defense Industries Company in the Tuzla district of Istanbul, and Ehsan Sagholam, the company’s owner, as chief suspects.

According to the Sagholam Defense Industries website, the company sells metal detectors, cargo and container scanning systems, drones, luggage scanners, packing devices, vehicle scanning systems, trackers, explosives, cargo planes, omega weapons and military uniforms, and operates in Jordan, Hungary, Pakistan, Congo and Kuwait. Turkish media specifically highlighted that the company sells Russian AN-12, ILYUSIN 76 and AN-124-100 aircraft.

Sagholam, who had extensive contacts in the Ministry of Defense the Turkish Armed Forces, was responsible for recruiting and selecting people to carry out the kidnapping operation, reports said.

He hired Davood Yilmaz, a former prosecutor in the Anadolu Kartal Court in Istanbul, retired colonel Kamel Tashchi, Mustafa Cicek, a police officer working on crimes linked to children, retired and non-commissioned officers of the Turkish Armed Forces and an unnamed Chinese officer to carry out the kidnapping operation.

In addition to the Istanbul prosecution work Yilmaz, also worked for public prosecutor's offices in Qiziltepe and Cheshmeh. He was reportedly chosen to help with any legal problems that might arise from the abduction, given his contacts in the country’s judicial system.

The suspects remain in custody, with Yilmaz held under house arrest under the supervision of the Turkish police because he has tested positive for coronavirus. The  Turkish judiciary and prosecutors are said to be in possession of necessary evidence and documentation regarding his abuse of office and his arrest.

The Foiled Operation

The Odatv report said Iranian intelligence officer Ali Ghahreman Hajiabad had been sent to Turkey to organize the operation before returning to Iran.

On January 30, 2022, Morteza Soltan Sanjali, also known as Shah-Namdi, was traveling to a residence in Zongoldag to abduct the targeted person, who was described as an enemy of the Islamic Republic, when he received a phone call from the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence informing him that the plot had been leaked and that he and the others in the operation were under surveillance. The ministry ordered the operation to be stopped.

Soltan Sanjali returned to Istanbul, where he was detained by Turkish security forces and interrogated by the forces’ anti-terrorism unit in Istanbul.

The Islamic Republic has a 40-year history of abducting and assassinating Iranian dissidents based in neighboring countries, including Jamshid Sharmahd, Habib Asyud and Ruhollah Zam.

Recently Turkish media also reported the arrest of eight people, including two Iranian intelligence officers in the city of Van in connection with an operation to kidnap a former soldier who had served in the Iranian military.

 

Related Coverage: 

Ruhollah Zam's Wife Attacked in French Capital

Intelligence Official: Ruhollah Zam's Abduction was Enabled by France

Iranian Intelligence Agents Busted in Turkey Kidnap Attempt

Kidnapped Dissident Habib Chaab Indicted in Iran

Iran Hires Criminals and Drug Dealers to Kidnap Its Opponents

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