Center for Strategic Communication


Osman Karahan.

Osman Karahan, publicly known as the lawyer defending al Qaeda members in Turkey, has been killed in Aleppo, Syria. Turkish jihadist websites announced his “martyrdom” today, saying it had taken place three days earlier, on Aug. 3. Karahan’s death was confirmed by a Turkish fighter who had gone to Syria “for the resistance,” Ahmet Guzman.

Karahan had defended numerous al Qaeda suspects in Turkey, most notably Loua’i Sakka, a Turkish-speaking Syrian thought to be the planner of the November 2003 truck bombings in Istanbul. Those bombings killed some 60 people in Istanbul during twin simultaneous attacks on two synagogues, an HSBC branch, and the British Consulate.

Karahan was also the Founder and President of the “Association for the Protection of Human Law (İnsan Hukukunu Koruma Derneği – İHADER),” which he claimed to have founded based on an Islamic understanding of human rights, as opposed to the concept of human rights that he said “the West dictates.”

According to the Washington Post, Karahan handled almost 80 percent of the criminal cases brought against Islamic militants in Turkey, a practice that increased sharply after the 9/11 attacks, when Turkey began detaining large numbers of suspects at its borders. He is thought to have subscribed to the same militant vision of Islam as many of his clients. In 2006 he was arrested on charges of assisting and funding al Qaeda but was later acquitted due to insufficient evidence. “The police fabricated accusations against me because I’m defending Muslims. The case is proof that the police want to deter me from practicing my profession,” Karahan said after his acquittal.

He was also known for his allegations that the CIA has kidnapped over 400 Arabs from Turkey since 1999 for being “Islamic resistance fighters,” some of whom he claimed have ended up in Guantanamo.