NEWS

Cycling tourist’s espionage trial

A German national arrested on a cycling holiday in the northern Aegean last year for taking photographs near a military airport will defend himself in court against espionage charges on Friday after over eight months in pretrial detention, a report said yesterday. Murat Mehmet Pekinel, 55, was arrested on the island of Lemnos on September 20 during a three-month tour of the northeastern Aegean, charged with espionage and remanded in custody. Pekinel, who is of Turkish descent but has lived in Germany since the age of 18, was found to have taken some 1,500 pictures of island scenery, about 140 of which were deemed to be suspect, a report in the Sunday Ethnos said. Pekinel denied the charge, arguing that he always takes a large number of photos while on holiday. According to Ethnos, none of the offending shots directly showed military installations, which are much in evidence throughout the eastern Aegean islands. Pekinel’s younger twin sisters, Suher and Guher, are internationally acclaimed pianists.