Prague Court Rejects States Bid To Hold Saleh Muslim For Extradition

Czech Republic, Prague, PYD, Saleh Muslim, Turkey

Prague/Ankara, Feb 27 (CTK) – The Prague Municipal Court released from prison Syrian Kurd leader Saleh Muslim, detained on the basis of an international warrant of arrest in Prague on Saturday, whose extradition is sought by Turkey, today, Muslim’s lawyer Miroslav Krutina has told journalists.


The State Attorney’s Office proposed that Muslim be remanded in custody, pending the outcome of the extradition procedure.


However, judge Jaroslav Pytloun did not comply with the proposal. Muslim left the courtroom escorted by police, but without handcuffs.


Pytloun has refused to comment on his decision.


He accepted Muslim’s promise that he would take part in all stages of the subsequent proceedings and would only stay in EU countries, said court spokeswoman Marketa Puci.


“The decision has taken effect since both sides gave up the right to a complaint,” Puci said.


Along with Muslim’s pledge, Krutina also promised “the guarantee by a Kurdish organisation,” but Pytloun did not accept it, she added.


The verdict was condemned by Turkish Ambassador to the Czech Republic Ahmet Bigali.


“We did not expect the decision. In recent years, Saleh Muslim took part in several terrorist attacks in Turkey,” Bigali said in a statement for the Turkish daily Sabah today.


“We are not satisfied with the verdict,” he added.


The Czech police arrested Muslim on Saturday on the basis of the warrant of arrest issued by the Supreme Court in Ankara.


Turkey says Muslim, 67, is a terrorist. On Monday, the ambassador of Turkey in Prague said Muslim’s release could have a negative influence on Czech-Turkish relations.


The warrant of arrest relates to several crimes, including murder and attack on national integrity.


The decision of the Czech court is political and means support for a terrorist organisation, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said, according to Sabah.


The decision is at variance with international law and it will affect the relations with the Czech Republic, Bozdag said, adding that the decision supports a terrorist organisation and was a clear support for terrorism.


Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul called the verdict a mistake.


Turkey expects its partners to reprieve the mistake as soon as possible, Gul told journalists in Ankara.


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), it denotes as a terrorist organisation.


Kurdish organisations in a number of countries, such as Denmark, Norway, Canada and Britain, have protested against Muslim’s detention. The Kurds also staged a protest outside the Prague Municipal Court today.


The Prague Municipal Court proceeded in a similar way in the case of Russian artist Oleg Vorotnikov, detained on the basis of an international arrest of warrant over the activities of the dissident artistic group Voina.


The judge accepted his written promise that he would not leave the Czech Republic and would be attending the court proceedings.


Russia issued an international warrant for the arrest of Vorotnikov over some of the activities of the Voina art group of which he is a member and asked for his extradition in 2016.