Czech court releases Salih Muslim

Tuesday, 27 February 2018 16:39

A court in the Czech Republic has released Salih Muslim, a former Kurdish Syrian leader, despite Ankara's official request for him to be extradited.

Muslim, a prominent former leader of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria, was arrested in the Czech capital of Prague on Saturday at Turkey's request. 

"We are very satisfied because the judge did not consider it necessary after hearing the arguments to decide to retain the custody of our client. Our client has promised that he would be at the disposal of the court. It is traditional this way as the proceedings have only started. It will take some time," Miroslav Krutina, Muslim's lawyer, told Al Jazeera.

"The crucial question was if our client should wait during the procedure in custody because of some kind of concern that he might disappear or not cooperate. In the end we agreed this very peaceful person would probably not be a threat to the public and he, himself, promised to be at the disposal of the court."

Turkey had asked authorities in Prague to extradite him with a file explaining the arguments for the request, Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Monday.

The Turkish foreign ministry said on Tuesday: "The decision of the Czech court does not correspond with the Czech judiciary's responsibilities with the international law and combatting terror."

Turkey's interior ministry had offered a bounty of nearly $1m for the arrest of Muslim, who is listed by Ankara as a "most wanted terrorist".