Political News

Spain halts extradition of Turkish-Swedish reporter

Posted September 29

— A Turkish-Swedish reporter and writer, arrested last month on a Turkish warrant for alleged terrorism links, will not be extradited to Turkey, the Spanish government said Friday.

Government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo said the process against Hamza Yalcin has been dropped because under Spanish law a person who has been granted refugee status cannot be extradited. He said Yalcin was granted asylum twice by Sweden and then granted Swedish nationality in 2006.

"I was really happy" when I heard it, the 59-year-old Yalcin was quoted as saying by Sweden's TT news agency. "It feels incredibly good."

"I welcome the Spanish decision not to extradite Hamza Yalcin to Turkey," Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said in a statement Friday, adding Yalcin, who fled to Sweden in 1984, was now free and could return to his family.

The Scandinavian country "has been working intensively" and "we have made it clear that urgent and legal guarantees were necessary."

Yalcin was arrested Aug. 3 in Barcelona but conditionally released Thursday by the National Court.

The PEN writers association and Reporters Without Borders had demanded his release. Reporters Without Borders said his arrest was an attempt by Turkey to silence critics.

Spain has also conditionally released a German writer detained on a Turkish warrant for alleged involvement with an outlawed group.

___

Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed to this report.

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