Elected Turkish mufti sentenced to 4 months in Greece

February, 2020

Ahmet Mete, the elected mufti of Xanthi in northern Greece, on Wednesday was sentenced to four months in prison due to usurping authority.

The implementation of the prison sentence was delayed. If Mete commits a crime in three years, the sentence will be implemented.

Erkan Azizoğlu, the imam of the nearby village of Glafki, was acquitted of the same charges.

Mete released a message on social media after the decision and said that he will file an appeal to the upper court.

Mete and Azizoğlu were convicted over an incident at the funeral ceremony of a conscript soldier in 2016, who was a member of the Muslim Turkish minority and lost his life in a swimming accident while on duty. Mete took over the prayer service from the state-appointed mufti of Xanthi.

Greek authorities had accused Mete and Azizoğlu of seizing an official position and of stopping the religious ceremony.

Greek courts had previously issued a similar ruling on a similar incident against the elected Mufti Mehmet Emin Ağa and his assistant Imam İbrahim Şerif, however, the European Court of Human Rights had ruled against the Greek court's decision and fined the Greek authorities.

Mete and Azizoğlu were each sentenced to seven months in prison by a court in Thessaloniki for disturbing a religious ceremony and usurping authority. They appealed the decision later.

İbrahim Şerif, who is the elected mufti of Komotini city and head of the Western Thrace Turkish Minority Advisory Board, had criticized Greek authorities' ongoing negative attitude in this regard.

Şerif, like Mete, was also convicted previously for usurping authority. He later appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, which made a decision in his favor and found Greece guilty.

Source: DS