Around 200 supporters of the Islamist Furkan movement marched in Hamburg on Saturday to demand the release of their leader Alparslan Kuytul who has been imprisoned in Turkey for a year and a half.

Footage shows men and women protesting separately, while holding up banners reading "Alparslan Kuytul is innocent!" and "Freedom for Alparslan Kuytul."

Counter-demonstrators waving LGBT flags were also present. Police officers were standing between them and the Furkan movement supporters.

"We did not go on the street for Sharia or the caliphate, but we went on the street for the release of Alpartan Kuytul," insisted Abdullah, a leader within the local Furkan community.

"Newspapers wrongly claimed that we are demonstrating for the caliphate and Sharia. That is wrong information. Maybe deliberately false information."

Prior to the demonstration, the Hamburg Office for Protection of the Constitution warned about the demonstration, arguing that 'extremists' are behind it. The Furkan community has reportedly been under surveillance by authorities since 2016.

Alparslan Kuytul was first arrested in 2018 and a new case was opened against him in 2019, demanding up to 20 years of imprisonment on charges of support to terrorist organisations FETO [Fethullah Gulen Movement] and PKK [Kurdistan Workers' Party].

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Xinhua 17 Sep 2019 12:43 CEST

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