Swedish court docket: Man needed by Turkey can’t be extradited

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Sweden’s prime court docket on Monday rejected an extradition request for a person needed by Turkey, saying the Scandinavian nation doesn’t criminalize the act he’s accused of committing.

In a press release, the Swedish Supreme Courtroom stated there have been “obstacles to extradition as a result of it’s a matter of so-called political crimes, i.e. crimes which are directed in opposition to the state and which are political in nature.”

The court docket in Stockholm stated there was “a danger of persecution based mostly on the individual’s political beliefs” if he had been returned to Turkey.

The court docket didn’t identify the person who was the topic of Turkey’s request. Swedish information company TT recognized him as Bulent Kenes and stated the Turkish authorities desires him in reference to a 2016 coup try.

Kenes, 55, who has asylum in Sweden, was the editor of the English-language In the present day’s Zaman newspaper, which was owned by a community linked to U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen. It was closed down as a part of a authorities crackdown on the group. Turkey blames Gulen for the failed coup and lists his community as a terror group.

Turkey has held up Sweden and Finland’s requests to hitch NATO over what it claimed was their insufficient response to teams it considers terrorist organizations, together with an alleged lack of cooperation on extraditions.

When Sweden and Finland dropped their longstanding insurance policies of navy nonalignment and utilized to hitch the Western navy alliance in Might, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated his nation wouldn’t approve them. He accused the 2 Nordic nations of turning a blind eye to terrorism.

Any choice on NATO enlargement requires the unanimous approval of alliance members.

Erdogan singled Kenes out final month throughout a joint information convention with the Swedish prime minister in Ankara.

“There’s one member of the (Gulen) terrorist group in Sweden, whose identify I’ll give: Bulent Kenes,” Erdogan stated. “For instance, the deportation of this terrorist to Turkey is of nice significance to us, and we in fact need Sweden to behave with extra sensitivity (on the problem).”

Kenes welcomed Monday’s court docket choice however insisted he shouldn’t be thought-about a suspect.

“I’m comfortable in fact. However the choice was anticipated,” Kenes instructed Swedish broadcaster SVT. “I’m not utterly glad as a result of they are saying that I’m suspected of crimes in Turkey. I’ve dedicated no crime in any respect. These accusations are utterly fabricated by Erdogan’s regime.”

“Sadly, I count on unhealthy issues from Erdogan and his regime. They’ll proceed to attempt to abuse the authorized system,” SVT quoted Kenes as saying.

There was no fast response from Turkish officers.

Earlier this month, Sweden deported an unnamed man who fled there after being convicted by a Turkish court docket of membership in an armed group in 2015. Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Company recognized the person as Mahmut Tat who had been sentenced to greater than six years in jail.

Suzan Fraser in Ankara contributed to this report.

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