Danish court rejects extradition of alleged PKK executive due to Turkish torture of prisoners

A Danish court decided on Wednesday to release a Kurdish man who was claimed by the Turkish government to be an executive of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), detained since July 14 after Ankara issued an extradition request.

According to a report by Kurdistan 24, Danish officials said 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 (ECHR).

“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 said 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 a report by the pro-Kurdish Fırat news agency (ANF). The ANF also described 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 on an Interpol Red Notice. Turkish police further claimed Deniz operated within PKK camps in 2007.

According to Kurdistan 24, the Danish court’s decision was similar to one from 2017, when it rejected Turkey’s extradition request for Musa Doğan, 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.

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