Turkey Demands Prague Remand Saleh Muslim

ANO, PYD, Saleh Muslim, Turkey

Prague, Feb 26 (CTK) – Turkey has so far asked the Czech authorities for remanding the foreigner, reportedly Syrian Kurdish leader Saleh Muslim, who was detained in Prague on Saturday, in custody, Justice Ministry spokeswoman Tereza Schejbalova told CTK today.


If the Czechs met the request, Ankara must ask for his extradition in 40 days, otherwise the man will be released.


The Czech bodies have not yet commented on the detainee’s identity.


However, Turkey has reported that the detained man is Muslim, former co-chairman of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the driving Kurdish political force in Northern Syria. Ankara put him on the list of the most wanted terrorists.


Some 200 supporters of Saleh Muslim marched through the centre of Prague to the Interior Ministry to learn whether he was taken into custody in Prague, Kurdish doctor and businessman Yekta Uzunoglu told CTK today.


He said the protest would continue outside the ministerial building on Tuesday morning.


Interior Minister Lubomir Metnar (for ANO) addressed the demonstrators, saying a court must decide on the case and that he was not acquainted with its circumstances yet.


The protesters demanded Muslim’s release. Some of them carried Kurdish and PYD flags and chanted slogans against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.


“The Justice Ministry can confirm that according to the Czech police report, the man was detained in the evening hours on February 24, 2018. Through the Foreign Ministry, it also received information that the Turkish authorities had asked for taking this man into preliminary custody on the basis of Article 16 of the European Convention on Extradition. They also indicated that they would submit a request for his extradition after the necessary documentation and its translation were completed,” Schejbalova said.


The Prague Municipal Curt will be deciding on remanding the foreigner in custody.


“The state attorney is gathering information for the decision whether it will propose custody for the detained foreigner,” Prague Municipal State Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Stepanka Zenklova said.


If Turkey officially asked for the man’s extradition, Czech courts must first assess its admissibility under Czech law. The justice minister will have the final say on the issue.


The PYD has an armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG) Kurdish militia, which helped defeat the Islamic State (IS) terrorist network in Syria. The USA considers the YPG its ally in this fight.


The YPG opened its its European representation office in Prague in 2016.


The Foreign Ministry said then the Czech Republic did not officially recognise the Syrian Kurdistan as an independent or autonomous state entity or any of its political representations.


The YPG closed its Prague office in the same year.