Danish court rejects extradition of alleged PKK official to Turkey
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Danish court decided on Wednesday to release a Kurdish man Turkey claims is an official of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), detained since July 14 after Ankara issued an extradition request.
Officials said that 58 year-old Cemal Deniz cannot be extradited since Turkey does not fully comply with Danish conditions on extradition such as non-torture under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
"All the conditions in the Danish Extradition Act must be met in order for us to hand over a person for criminal prosecution abroad. After a careful review of the case, we have considered that this is not the case and therefore he has now been released,” State Prosecutor Sune Løvtrups added, in a public statement.
Deniz was arrested upon his arrival to the city of Rodbyhamn after traveling by ferry from Puttgarden, Germany. Agents from a domestic intelligence and security service known as PET carried out the arrest, according to the Kurdish ANF news agency, who describes Deniz as a "Kurdish politician."
According to a statement released by Turkey’s Security Directorate on the day of the arrest, Deniz holds a leading PKK position in Scandinavia and has been sought in 192 countries around the world with an Interpol request to locate and detain known as a Red Notice. Turkish police further claimed Deniz operated within PKK camps in 2007.
The Danish court’s decision was similar to one from 2017, when it rejected Turkey’s extradition request for Musa Dogan, a Kurd from Turkey, with a reference to the continued use of the country’s use of “torture” against convicts.
Last week, another Kurd residing in Switzerland was released after being held for a year in Croatia following Turkish accusations of PKK links.
Turkey has increased its number of Interpol extradition requests following the 2015 breakdown of peace talks between the PKK and the Turkish state.
In February, senior Syrian Kurdish leader Salih Muslim was arrested in the Czech Republic, also based on a Turkish extradition request. As with Deniz in Denmark, a Czech court later released Muslim.
The PKK has been locked in a decades-long fight with the Turkish government over broader Kurdish rights. The group is designated as a ‘terrorist’ organization by Turkey, the European Union (EU), and the US.
Editing by John J. Catherine