Iranian drug lord linked to murder of Iranian dissident in Istanbul
Police escort Zindati to the courthouse after his detention in Istanbul in 2018. (Photo by Emir Somer)
Date: 2019-12-13 09:15
Afugitive Iranian drug lord is being investigated by police for his possible links to the murder of Massoud Molavi, a former Iranian intelligence operative who was shot dead in Istanbul on Nov. 14.
A police probe revealed that Abdulvahap Koçak, the main suspect in the shooting of Molavi, is also the suspected shooter in the murder of an attorney. Lawyer Kudbettin Kaya was shot dead in a restaurant in Istanbul in 2017, and an investigation disclosed that he was killed upon the instructions of drug lord Naci Şerifi Zindaşti. Traces of DNA found at the scene of Kaya's murder matched DNA found at the site of the murder of Molavi. Koçak, detained after the murder, exercised his right to remain silent, while Zindaşti, who was released last year after his brief detention in another case, disappeared.
Zindaşti, whose name came up in the investigations into a string of murders and attacks involving Turkey's underworld figures, was also accused of ordering a hit on Saeed Kerimian, an Iranian businessman and owner of a TV station, who was gunned down in Istanbul in 2017.
Bullet casings were found at the scene. CCTV footage, released by another agency, IHA, appeared to show the moment of the killing.
Molavi helped run a channel on Telegram called "Black Box", which published corruption allegations against members of the Iranian regime, judiciary and intelligence services, and claimed to have contacts within the Revolutionary Guards.
The assassination of the opposition journalist comes amid widespread protests in Iran.
Based on DS