German prosecutors drop case against Turkish Imams

Prosecutors in Germany dropped a case against Imams suspected of spying for Turkey, saying evidence was insufficient and they could not track the suspects down, German news website The Local reported.

The clerics, who worked for Ditib, an organisation controlled by Ankara that manages hundreds of religious centres, were suspected of spying on members of the Fethullah Gülen movement, which Turkey blames for an attempted coup last year.

Political tensions between Turkey and Germany have been inflamed by the investigation, as well as Germany’s criticism of Turkey’s human rights record. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has also accused the German government of behaving like Nazis.

Prosecutors said they had sought arrest warrants for seven suspects whose whereabouts were unknown, The Local said. But a presiding judge said the suspects did not pose an urgent threat. Another seven people were cleared due to insufficient evidence.

Police obtained documents, data and communications materials in raids, but they did not find sufficient proof that suspects were passing on intelligence to Turkey, it said.