Football fans freed in Turkey

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The Independent Online
SIX Manchester United fans held in a Turkish prison for 27 days were freed yesterday after a five-hour court hearing in Istanbul.

Allegations that they were involved in causing pounds 26,000 of damage to a hotel in the city and were ringleaders in clashes with fans of the Turkish team Galatasaray were not proved.

But the judge, in releasing the six, ordered that investigations should continue into who caused the violence before United's European Cup match in Istanbul on 3 November.

John Cunningham, a tour operator from Longsight, Greater Manchester, who organised the trip to Turkey that ended with more than 200 United supporters being deported, mouthed 'Great' as an interpreter explained the judge's decision to the six. They were Mr Cunningham, 39; Graham Cross, 38, from Walsall; Michael Sholton, 27, of Wolverhampton; Andrew Phipps, 30, Kevin Doherty, 29, and Danny Humphries, 31, all from Birmingham.

The six, who are expected home today, have been held in the Bayrampasa prison, made notorious by the film Midnight Express, charged with criminal damage and being drunk and disorderly.