Probe Ordered Into Arrest Of Syrian Kurdish Leader Saleh Muslim

Prague, PYD, Saleh Muslim, Turkey

Prague, March 1 (CTK) – Interior Minister Lubomir Metnar (for ANO) has ordered a check of the steps taken by the Czech police who arrested Syrian-Kurdish leader Saleh Muslim on Saturday based on an international arrest warrant from Turkey, he told parliament during the regular questioning of ministers today.


MP Marek Vyborny (opposition Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) marvelled at that Muslim was not arrested in other European countries in which he stayed.


“I had the case revised by the inspection bodies,” Metnar said in reaction to Vyborny’s question.


Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) also promised parliament members that the case would be checked in reaction to information that Muslim was arrested based on the wish of Turkish secret services.


Metnar said the police arrested Muslim based on a preliminary consent issued by the Prague Municipal State Attorney’s Office. This office received the request for arrest and extradition that the Turkish police sent to the Czech police.


Muslim was detained based on an international arrest warrant issued by the Supreme Criminal Court in Ankara on May 25, 2017, Metnar said.


Muslim, 67, was kept in detention for four days. The Prague Municipal Court released him on Tuesday. The verdict took effect since both parties gave up the right to a complaint. Muslim promised not to leave the EU and take part in the court proceedings.


Turkey may file an official request for Muslim’s extradition with the Justice Ministry within 40 days after the arrest.


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) which it considers a terrorist organisation.


On Tuesday, the Czech side received a diplomatic note in which it complained about the verdict. Czech diplomacy protested against Ankara’s allegation that by its decision, Prague had violated international commitments. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeated this accusation today.


On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Martin Stropnicky told public Czech Television (CT) that the Czech police took action based on their own information. He said the police allegedly had indications that an attack is threatening to the man or to his surroundings.


Stropnicky said the National Security Council dealt with the case, but he was not present to the meeting and a part of the information is classified.


The Turkish authorities connect Muslim with a bomb attack in Ankara in March 2017, which they say was masterminded by the PKK. A previous arrest warrant from 2016 linked him to another bomb attack in which 29 people died and another 87 were injured.


Muslim denies having been involved in these acts, saying he was in Europe then.


He is a politician focusing on the situation in Northern Syria and not on Turkish internal affairs, he said.