Chief prosecutor’s opinion on extradition of Turkish national of Kurdish descent expected on Friday

An opinion on whether a Turkish national of Kurdish descent should be extradited is expected to be issued by the chief prosecutor of the Council of Appeals Judges on Friday.

The man is one of nine arrested by Greek Police in the Athens suburbs of Neos Kosmos and Kallithea in December 2017 and Turkey has requested his extradition over a three-year jail sentence for “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization.”

The court heard on Tuesday from several witnesses including the leader of Popular Unity party Panagiotis Lafazanis who said the man was persecuted for his beliefs and pointed out that France would not have granted him political asylum if it had considered him a terrorist.

In his testimony, the man, 60, told the judges he had spent 20 years in Turkish jails and extraditing him would endanger his life. He said he was forced to leave the country in 2011 during persecutions and went to France, which recognized him as a political refugee. “Prior to 2000 I had two eyes. Now I have one. I still have shrapnel embedded in my body. When I was in jail people in the same cell as me were murdered before my eyes,” he said. “What happened in Diyarbakir (in 2015) was what happened at the Polytechnic here. Can you condemn those students?”, he said, referring to the southeastern region in Turkey and the National Polytechnic uprising in 1973, respectively.

The court will decide on the case following the issuance of the chief prosecutor’s opinion.

The court was also expected to examine the Turkish authorities’ extradition request for a second man, but this decision was postponed for February 6, following a request by his lawyers.