LONDON (Reuters) - A London court rejected on Tuesday a request from Turkey to appeal a decision against extraditing Turkish businessman Akin Ipek to face terrorism-funding, fraud and other charges.
Ipek built a multi-billion-dollar fortune in Turkey based on gold mining but left the country in 2015 after relations between the government and followers of U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen soured.
Ankara accused Gulen, a former ally of President Tayyip Erdogan, of orchestrating a 2016 failed coup attempt and has carried out a widespread crackdown targeting his alleged followers. Gulen has denied any involvement.
Ipek and two other men, Ali Celik and Talip Buyuk, who are said by Ankara to be high-ranking members of Gulen’s organization (FETO), were arrested by Britain last year following extradition requests from Turkey.
A judge in November said that while he had serious reservations about the state of the rule of law in Turkey, he accepted that the men would receive a fair trial.
But he rejected the extradition request, saying they faced a real risk of ill-treatment on their return.
Judge Elisabeth Laing upheld that ruling on Tuesday. “I refuse this renewed application for permission to appeal,” Laing said.
Ipek said the ruling brought an end to the extradition battle, adding that he would continue efforts to regain control of his businesses which have been seized by Turkish authorities.
There was no immediate comment from the Turkish government.
In November Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul described the original ruling as unacceptable and said Ankara would continue to try to bring suspects back for trial in Turkey.
Reporting by Barbara Lewis; Editing by Keith Weir