ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A Greek court on Wednesday rejected a Turkish extradition request for a young woman who was among nine suspected Turkish militants arrested in Athens ahead of an official visit by Turkey’s president late last year.
A panel of three judges ruled 21-year-old Halaz Secer may be tried for issues other than what the extradition request sought her for and that her life could be in danger if returned to Turkey. The judges also ruled that some offences she was being sought for, such as participating in protests and making banners, were not crimes.
The nine, Turkish citizens of Kurdish origin, were arrested for alleged links to the left-wing Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front, which Turkey, the United States and the European Union consider a terrorist organization.
Secer is the third of the nine to see an extradition request from Turkey rejected. Two others — Naci Ozpolat, 48 and Mehmet Dogan, 60 — have also had the extradition request for them rejected in recent weeks.
After the hearing she returned to jail, where she is being held on Greek charges related to the possession of explosives. She denies being part of a terrorist organization.
Proesecutor Ourania Stathea had recommended the judges reject the extradition request, noting that charges for which Turkey was seeking Secer included “forming and running an armed terrorist organization since 2007,” when she would have been 10 years old. Stathea noted Turkey has been under a state of emergency since July 2016, after a failed military coup there, which has led to the imprisonment of thousands of people, including civil servants, journalists, judges and military personnel.
Testifying in court, Secer insisted she was not a member of any terrorist organization, and said she had been protesting in Turkey to call for free education. The young woman said she has been arrested three times from the age of 17 for her activism, and held several months each time. She told the court she suffered injuries during each of the arrests.