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Czech attorneys halt extradition process of Syrian Kurdish leader

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Prague, March 19 (CTK) – The Prague State Attorney’s Office has halted the preliminary proceedings on the extradition of Syrian Kurdish leader Saleh Muslim since he is not in the Czech Republic any more, his lawyer Miroslav Krutina confirmed to CTK on Monday.

Turkey was seeking his extradition on suspicion of terrorism.

The Czech police detained Muslim in Prague in late February on the basis of an arrest warrant issued by Ankara. A court released him a few days later.

While Ankara labels Muslim a terrorist, Kurds consider him a hero of the fights against Islamic State.

“The proceedings were halted for formal reasons since Mr Saleh is not in the territory of the Czech Republic, which he was not ordered to do either,” Krutina said.

Muslim promised the Prague Municipal Court in late February that he would stay in the EU, which he did, Krutina added.

Muslim can be travelling freely now, Krutina said. “The case has thereby basically ended,” he added.

“Another thing is the existence of the arrest warrants. I have not heard of any change in this respect. Turkey can address individual countries where Mr Saleh may appear to seek his arrest and possible extradition,” Krutina said.

The Czech Justice Ministry has told CTK that Turkey sent its application for Muslim’s release on March 2.

However, the document did not include the addenda in the form required by law. This is why Turkey was then gradually delivering the documents in the required form, most recently on March 16.

“In the meantime, the Municipal State Attorney’s Office in Prague informed us that the preliminary proceedings were ended because Saleh Muslim is no longer in the Czech Republic and his whereabouts are unknown,” Jakub Riman, from the Justice Ministry, told CTK.

“The Justice Ministry subsequently notified the Turkish authorities about this fact,” Riman added.

Turkey has asked Germany and Sweden for Muslim’s extradition in the past few weeks.

Until last year, Muslim was in the leadership of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the driving Kurdish political force in northern Syria. Turkey says the PYD is a part of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that it denotes as a terrorist organisation.

Turkey blames Muslim for harming its state sovereignty and for participation in a bomb attack in which 29 people died in Ankara in 2016 .

Ankara sharply criticised the Czech court’s decision to release Muslim and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan even accused Prague of support for international terrorism over it.

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